The much-anticipated inaugural performance of the Greek National Opera’s programme at its new home is an event that aims to bridge the perceived gap between opera and modern life, to redefine opera as an art that is at once timeless and poignant, which reacts, bears witness, discusses, disagrees and unites. This fluid and vital role of opera, according to Musical Director Giorgos Koumentakis, places it in continual dialogue with society, one of the main goals of the Greek National Opera in its programme this year.
Beginning with Richard Strauss’ Elektra from the Atreides Cycle
The myth of the House of Atreus, or The Atreides Cycle, with the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the murder of Agammemnon and the revenge of Orestes and his sister Elektra, comprises one of the most enduringly popular libretto-themes for composers, musicians and audiences alike. The first work from the Atreides Cycle, Elektra by Richard Strauss, will debut on October 15 for five performances on the main stage of the National Opera featuring leading soprano Iréne Theorin in the role of Elektra and with world-renowned Agnes Baltsa (in her first time with the Greek National Opera) in the role of Clytemnestra – and with the Orchestra, Chorus and soloists of the Greek National Opera.
The second production: Rigoletto by Verdi, from the Italian Opera Cycle
The social and cultural dimensions of Italian opera, so adored by the wider public, are here revealed in one of the darker and more melodic masterpieces of the great Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto. One of the main attractions of this production is the appearance of the great Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias in his internationally defining role. Appearing along with Platanias is the renowned coloratura soprano Christina Poulitsi in the particularly demanding role of Gilda – as well as the tenor Yannis Christopoulos. Premier on October 25 for 4 performances.
On October 5, the Herodeon will fill with devotees of the “Queen of the electric violin”, Vanessa Mae, who, with her orchestra and team of talented technicians, will also electrify the audience with a stunning show of sound and light.
The multidimensional personality of this dynamic violinist
The beautiful Mae (born to a Singaporean mother and Thai father and who was then adopted by a British father) has sold millions of albums and was listed as the wealthiest artist under thirty in the United Kingdom in 2006. At the age of 13, she became the youngest solo violinist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. She also skied for Thailand in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Finally, to round out her rather extraordinary profile, Mae is active in numerous philanthropic causes, having performed many times on behalf of the International Red Cross.
The musical selections
Mae combines classical and pop music in an intimate and “easy” sound and manages to appeal to a broad audience – as demonstrated by her 40 international Platinum Awards and her sale of more than 8 million albums from both her classical and pop repertoires. On the night of October 5, Mae’s audience can expect to enjoy Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Vivaldi, Indian music, pop songs and compositions by Vangelis Papathanasiou. Tickets are available at ticketservices.gr and at Public stores.
An Opera Gala to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Maria Callas
Cellia Costea, Myrto Papathanasiou and Christina Poulitsi: three of the Greek National Opera’s most renowned international sopranos here honour the memory of the great Maria Callas, the Greek diva who brought to her roles a unique, personal aura – forever changing how they would be perceived and interpreted. The three sopranos will perform pieces from Callas’ most celebrated roles, such as: “Norma”, “La Traviata”, “Turandot”, “Aïda”, “Tosca” and her incomparable “Medea”. Featuring the orchestra and chorus of the Greek National Opera. On the 13th & 14th of September.
Béjart Ballet Lausanne - in memory of its creator
The well-known Lausanne Ballet (30 years after its founding in 1987 and ten years after the death of its founder, Maurice Béjart), with a troupe of 50 dynamic dancers performing to a variety of musical genres, will present Béjart’s most important choreographies. These performances comprise a hymn to the art form and to one of its greatest masters, who left a brilliant legacy of over 5 decades of unflagging creativity, during which he also founded three schools of dance, including his most famous, “Béjart Ballet Lausanne”. During these two performances, on Sunday and Monday, September 17 & 18, the Ballet’s new Artistic Director Gil Roman will present his recent addition to Béjart’s famous repertoire.
“Amyntas” in memory of the great director Spyros Evangelatos
One year ago, on July 8, 2016, Spyros Evangelatos directed a work which he himself had discovered, a pastoral comedy by George Mormoris, a physician, philosopher and poet from the island of Kythera. This play, written in 1745, captivates the audience with its charm, romance and dreamlike atmosphere, which alternates between nightmare and poetic farce. The work played to an enraptured audience a year ago at the Herodion and is now being presented again by the late director’s daughter, Katerina Evangelatou, for a single performance only – on September 26.
The exhibition which charmed and moved both public and experts in New York, which transported to the “New World” the ancient Greeks’ world of emotions – which also highlighted our country’s outward focus and ability to successfully export culture – this exhibition has now returned to its birthplace, to the internationally acclaimed Acropolis Museum to enrich our lives with the wealth of our ancestors’ emotions.
129 artefacts display and express emotions which astound and delight
22 Greek and 8 foreign museums (among them The British Museum, The Louvre and The Metropolitan Museum of Art) have loaned 129 key pieces from their collections for this exhibition, which manages to convey, through painting and sculpture, the emotional lives of gods, demigods and humans of every age and social class: men, women and children. The exhibition, which received rave reviews in New York, here displays the same pieces within a different spatial and architectural context, creating an enormous spiral which unwinds in shades of red, deepening or growing lighter according to the intensity and depth of the emotions, in juxtaposition to grey, which symbolizes the world of thought and reason. At their centre- sculptures depicting Erotic Love and Desire reflect a powerful, blinding light, like the emotions themselves.
To the 19th of November
The exhibition, which opened in the heat of summer and will conclude before winter arrives, is divided into 5 emotional units: the art of emotions or how emotions are depicted in art; where our emotions are expressed (home, in public, the battlefield, sacred places and cemeteries); emotions when they come into conflict with each other; uncontrolled emotions and the emotions which armed Medea and that paradigm of Greek heroes – Achilles. Finally, the spoken word completes the exhibition through 11 videos which briefly narrate the history of the respective artefact or picture, helping the visitor to understand the story of the emotions. After all, what would we be without emotions?