Project Charter

Project Charter – Ana Vashakmadze

  • Project Name
    • Title – First Original Georgian Opera – Abesalom and Eteri by Zacharia Paliashvili
  • Project Owner
    • Ana Vashakmadze
  • Project Summary

My research is about the Georgian opera Abesalom and Eteri by Zacharia Paliashvili (1871-1933) which was premiered in 1919, the year after Georgia reestablished independence from the Russian Empire. This opera was a culmination of a multidisciplinary movement for maintaining national identity which has always been closely attached to and influenced by Georgian musical culture. The threat of losing national identity under the occupation accelerated the professionalization of Georgian music. This research draws upon the political and historical context, the composer’s archival materials in Georgian, and the opera’s music and lyrics to explore the composition as a bridge between different musical cultures and historical episodes.

During summer 2020 I was a Kolbe Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Marta Robertson. We have worked on the larger picture of the research, including finding secondary sources, having interviews with Georgian musicologists and musicians, observing primary materials from the composer’s museum, and writing micro-essays for the future website. The main challenge was balancing between contextualizing the research and learning new tools for transforming my ideas into the digital world under the mentorship of R.C. Miessler.

Throughout the DH Fellowship, my main goal is to dive into the concrete fragments of the research, after working on the larger picture. My plan is to have a bilingual website: English and Georgian.

The website will have an opening introductory page. The menu will include larger topics at first: “About Composer,” “About Opera,” “Historical Atmosphere,” “Continuum of the Opera.” Each main page will have sub-pages with more multi-media elements, such as maps, timelines, storytelling sections, musical Sections, and others.

The website will start with a wider glance of the topic and an audience will be able to choose the direction where they want to dive in more.

Having a bilingual website broadens my audience globally. I would love this website to be accessible for a person who hears about the opera for the first time as well as for scholars who are interested in more in-depth analysis. I hope this website can become an interesting source for students, faculty, and scholars who could be doing research about this opera, or are interested in Eastern European musical culture and the concept of nationalism in classical music. My goal will be to catch the golden mean, between accessibility and professional scholarly research while building the website.

  • Deliverables
  • Research Question/Thesis 
  • Media Elements: Pictures, Videos, Audios, Score, Posters
  • Secondary Sources: Score, Journal Articles, Books, Maps
  • Primary Sources: Interviews, Letters, Pictures
  • Digital Tools:
  • WordPress/Scalar website
  • Timeline JS
  • StoryMapJS
  • ArcGIS
  • Timeline
Week 1 (6/7 – 6/11) 
1) Meet with the mentor.
2) Collect all the previously researched materials.
Sorting out the ones that are relevant for the DH project.
3) Brainstorming digital tools that I am going to use.
Week 2 (6/14 – 6/18)
1) Project charter – due 6/18 
2) Meet with the mentor and identifying most of the tools that I am going to use.
3) Work on getting all the secondary materials needed for the gaps.
4) Identifying missing primary sources and communicating with the library/museum.  
Week 3 (6/21 – 6/25) 
1) Wireframes – due 6/25 
2) Meet with the mentor and discuss website structure/show the first steps of using the digital tools.
3) Get those primary sources by the end of the week (museum/local library)
4) Further discussion of the possible copyright issues.
5) Visualization/digitalization of the interviews.
6)Finalizing all the digital sources.
Week 4 (6/28 – 7/1) 
1) Meet with the mentor.  
2)Taking care of possible interviews if planned. 
3) Working on TimelineJS/StoryMapJS/ArcGIS
4) Structuring my website.
Week 5 (7/6 – 7/9) 
Visualization due 7/9 
1) Meet with the mentor: discussing what I am missing.
2) Working extensively on texts/translating.
3) Possible digital edits, additions, corrections.
4) Reviewing the topic/thesis.    
Week 6 (7/12 – 7/16) 
1) First project draft – due 7/16 
2) Mostly working on the design of the website.
3) Working on the identified gaps (contextual or technological)
4) Embedding all the separate digital parts into the main website.  
Week 7 (7/19 – 7/23) 
1) Final project draft – due 7/23 
2) Meet the mentor at the beginning of the week: going through the strucutre of the website. 
3) Working on all the flaws and missing parts.
4) Building the presentation/identifying what I need to work on/polish.
Week 8 (7/26-7/30) Presentation 
1) Any final edits/should be mostly technological.
2) Practice the presentation.
3) Meeting with my mentor to overview the whole experience and future possibilities for the project.  
  • My goal is to have a finalized version of this project by the end of the fellowship. However, I would love to go back to it from time to time as I keep growing as a scholar and musician. Taking into consideration the importance of this opera in today’s Georgian musical reality, I hope, the project is going to have a long lifespan. It would be amazing if other scholars get interested in the topic and the opera itself and they will be willing to contribute or collaborate with the initial project.

Written by Ana Vashakmadze ’22, Student at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, Gettysburg College, part of the DSSF Summer ’21 wonderful Cohort.