During a long taxi journey on tree-lined mountain roads that lead to eastern Georgia’s winegrowing region, the driver played Georgian music. “Here everybody sing!” he said before pulling up to the Tsinandali Estate, where the American baritone Thomas Hampson was giving a concert.
Music is key to Georgia’s plans to grab tourists’ attention and boost its profile on the world stage. Tsinandali Festival is an example. The programme of classical music has brought renowned musicians such as the Chinese pianist Yuja Wang to the rural Caucasus. It has meant building a sleek complex with a concert hall, amphitheatre and two hotels. In residence is an 80-strong “peace” orchestra of young musicians from mutually hostile neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.