STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
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Conception – Music – Text selection:
With actor Christos Loulis
Dancers: Antonis Vais, Despina Lagoudaki
With the participation of an 11-member instrumental ensemble
Ticket prices:: 15€, 20€
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Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
World premiere / Commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage
Cycle “Odes to Byron”
Curator Alexandros Mouzas
In collaboration with The Messolonghi Byron Society
As part of the tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution
Starts at 20.30 (Sunday 19.30) |
Distinguished composer Alexandros Mouzas’ new music theatre work Shades in Hades will receive its premiere on the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, directed by Thomas Moschopoulos. This music theatre work for actor and musical ensemble will run for only two performances, on 27 and 28 November 2021, as part of the tribute to the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution. The eleven-member musical ensemble is conducted by Nicolas Vassiliou, and Christos Loulis stars in the role of Lord Byron.
Shades in Hades makes use, exclusively, of Lord Byron’s original texts selected from his last letters from Greece, his narrative work Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, his play Cain, as well as his poems. The work describes Byron’s descent, as an archetypical “fallen angel”, into the humid and dystopian environment of Missolonghi, into a Hades that sets traps in his Shades, into an absolutely Greek Gothic environment.
Against the background of an an evocative, soaked set vividly conveying the sense of a fantasy-like Hades full of shades, premonitions and memories, Alexandros Mouzas’ atmospheric music flirts with a film aesthetic, while accompanying in a unique way the taxing performance of actor Christos Loulis. The latter delivers in turn an ideal reading of Lord Byron, as a man who is playful and poetic, obsessive and captive of his passions, but also a glorious architect of his own fate.
The production, part of a tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org].
Shades in Hades was commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage and is part of the thematic cycle “Odes to Byron”, which pays tribute to the emblematic Romantic poet and philhellene. The work is presented in collaboration with The Messolonghi Byron Society.
Eloquence, humour, empathy, biting irony and a slew of valuable biographical, historical and ethnographic information typify the almost 3,000 (!) letters of Lord Byron that have survived to this day, on the merits of which he is widely considered as one of the greatest letter-writers of the 19th century. From this unruly and inexhaustible body of texts, Alexandros Mouzas, composer and curator of the GNO Byron Cycle, chose the letters written during the poet’s final three months at Missolonghi, alongside excerpts from writings, thoughts and poems by Byron, as material for his new music theatre work.
Byron’s tireless attempts to unify the warring Greek factions, financially assist the Greek War of Independence, raise consciousness about the Greek cause abroad, offer humanitarian help to the war’s victims and take care of his personal affairs before being raised (through his untimely death) to the status of international symbol of the philhellenic movement, thus decisively arousing the interest of foreign powers in the Greek struggle, are represented in an innovative first-person monodrama combining a contemporary musical idiom with thorough historical research.
A catalyst in deciding the work’s structure was an apostrophe in one of Byron’s letters to his editor Thomas Moore during the time he was writing Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “I was half mad during the time of its composition, between metaphysics, mountains, lakes, love unextinguishable, thoughts unutterable, and the nightmare of my own delinquencies.”
Alexandros Mouzas’s music has an almost cinematic perspective, attempting to bring out new messages in a contemporary way through a personal reading: “There are no musical borrowings, nor is it reminiscent of musical references of the time or of tradition. In the letters, the actor is at liberty to handle the text within specific time limits, while in the poems, the score requires absolute precision in the delivery of speech and the actor assumes the role of a soloist. In-between large orchestral parts are interpolated, serving as a commentary on the stage action.”, notes the composer.
Additionally, Thomas Moschopoulos’ stage direction eloquently renders the atmosphere of the poet’s final, daring adventure in Missolonghi – the glorious terminal station of a unique, and thoroughly Romantic, life story.
Alexandros Mouzas Concept, music, text selection
He studied composition with Theodore Antoniou, advanced music theory with Haris Xanthoudakis, electronic music with Dimitris Kamarotos and orchestration with Kostas Klavvas. He also studied at the School of Business of the Athens University of Economics and Business. As a composer, he regularly addresses the combination of music and the other arts (cinema, dance, theatre). He has received numerous commissions for musical works and stage productions from all Greek cultural organisations. Notable among his works are the music theatre City Lives, the music for the silent films Man With a Movie Camera and Un chien andalou, the ballet Trisha, etc. A CD of his orchestral works has been released by the Naxos music label. He was the artistic director of the Silent Film Festival of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (2010-2018), the EnLIVE Festival Cyprus, and productions such as Tribute to Iannis Xenakis, Madness (Athens Epidaurus Festival), Vesalii Icones, Dream (Athens Concert Hall), Alternativa (Onassis Stegi). He conceived the educational programmes Cam-media (2009-2015) και S-[cool]-life (2014-2015) for the Athens Concert Hall and was the artistic director of the Greek department of the New Media Edge European programme. He teaches Music Technology at the Μetropolitan College, Athens.
Nicolas Vassiliou Conductor
Pianist, conductor and composer, he was born in Athens. He studied piano and theory in Athens and New York, as well as conducting at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) (Athens Academy scholarship). He taught music in schools, piano and chorus direction at the National Conservatory of Athens. Director of the “Manolis Kalomiris” Children’s Chorus (1992-2000), he has collaborated, among others, with the Greek National Opera, Athens Festival, Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall. Since 1994, as a vocal coach (correpetition) he participated in the music preparation of more than sixty GNO productions. He has served as GNO Chorus master (2005-2011), head of the GNO Studio Opera (2012-2015) and conductor of the contemporary operas since 2010, including plenty of Greek premieres. He has been music consultant of the Athens Festival (2017/18). He has conducted, among others, the GNO Orchestra, Athens State Orchestra, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra, Athens Municipality Symphony Orchestra.
Thomas Moschopoulos Stage director
Born in Bitola, former Yugoslavia, he studied English literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, theatre at the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece, as well as theatre and cinema in Italy. He has been an artistic co-director with Yannis Houvardas of the Notos Theatre (Amore Τheatre, Athens, 2001-2008). He has directed many theatre plays, children’s theatre, films, video clips and documentaries for television and cinema, as well as operas (Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Cremona Festival and Teatro Lirico di Cagliari). He directed the first part of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games, Athens 2004, as well as the Delivery Ceremony of the SNFCC to the Greek public sector (2017). Since 2014 he has been the artistic director of the Porta Theatre, Athens. For the Greek National Opera, he has directed Manolis Kalomiris’ The Master Builder (2008) and the children’s opera Beware! The Prince Is Messy based on his own libretto (music by Nikos Kypourgos, 2013).
Evangelia Therianou Set designer
She is an architect and set designer based in Athens, Greece. Since 2011, she has worked as a set designer for private theatres in Athens, as well as for the National Theatre of Greece, Greek National Opera, Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall, National Theatre of Northern Greece and Athens Epidaurus Festival. She has also participated in festivals abroad (KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen Hannover, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Dublin Dance Festival). She has been the art director in two short films: Beatitudes and Cruiser, both directed by Aristotelis Maragkos. Since 2009, she has worked as set assistant and costume designer in several theatre productions in Greece and abroad, and as wardrobe coordinator at the Special Olympics 2011 opening and closing ceremonies in Athens.
Magdalini Avgerinou Costume designer
Born and lives in Athens, where she works as a set and costume designer. She is a graduate of the Department of Interior Architecture, Decoration and Object Design of the Technological Education Institute of Athens and the Department of Scenography & Costume Design of the University of Manchester. She has designed sets and costumes for productions at the National Theatre of Greece, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun, Neos Kosmos Theatre, Onassis Stegi, Greek National Opera and other theatres in Greece and abroad.
Alexis Fousekis Choreographer
He is a dancer-performer who studied contemporary dance at the Greek National School of Dance in Athens from where he graduated obtaining a scholarship for the Martha Graham School in New York. He belongs to Robert Wilson’s artistic team for the productions Oedipus Rex and The Messiah. He is also a member of the director’s team at the Watermill Center’s Laboratory of Arts in New York. He has collaborated with RootlessRoot, Linda Kapetanea and Jozef Fruček, in Europium, Dionysis Savvopoulos and Ermis Malkotsis in Plutus, Konstantinos Rigos in Arkadia (Athens Epidaurus Festival, 2014), Marianna Kavallieratos in Stream, Death and They, Yiannis Kakleas in The Acharnians, The Killing Game (National Theatre of Greece) and Cyrano de Bergerac, Thomas Moschopoulos in Mojo, Euripides Laskaridis in Ridicule and Transformation – The Walk, Stella Fotiadi in Hands and Seeking Bliss (SNFCC – Nostos Festival), Yannis Adoniou in Memoirs of a Sailor (National Opera of Kuwait), Angeliki Stellatou in Hercules and Athanasia Kanellopoulou in Exodus (Ramallah Dance Festival, 2019).
Nikos Vlassopoulos Lighting designer
Born in Athens. He studied direction of photography. He has worked in numerous television and cinema productions. Since 2000 he has been working as a lighting designer in theatre and dance productions. His work has been presented at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, National Theatre of Greece, Onassis Stegi, National Theatre of Northern Greece, Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun, Athens Epidaurus Festival, etc. His work has also been presented in various theatres and festivals abroad, among others at the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Théâtre Saint-Gervais (Geneva), The Place (London), Biennale de la dance (Lyon), Hellerau (Dresden), NRW Tanzhaus (Düsseldorf), CND (Paris), Hivernalles (Avignon), etc.
Christos Loulis Lord Byron
Born in Athens, Greece, in 1976. He graduated from the Drama School of the Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun in 1999. In the theatre, he has worked with Greece’s most prominent directors and companies in both classical and modern repertoire. He has appeared in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Sarah Kane’s Cleansed, Faust by Goethe, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, Euripides’ Bacchae. He has performed in productions in both Greek and English that have travelled in England and the USA, the most recent being The Birds by Aristophanes, which run in St Anne’s Warehouse in New York. In 2004, under Dimitris Papaioannou’s instructions, he performed the role of the Lover at the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He has performed in some of the most popular TV shows in Greece, such as Kleise ta matia and Dyo meres mono. He has starred in numerous films such as Adults in the Room by Costa-Gavras, Man of God by Yelena Popovic, Do It Yourself by Dimitris Tsilifonis, Slaves in Their Bonds by Tonis Lykouresis (Best Supporting Actor Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival), Honey and the Pig by Olga Malea (for which he was Greece’s Shooting Star at the Berlinale in 2006) and many others.
Antonis Vais Dancer
Born in Athens, Greece, in 1984. He graduated from the Greek National School of Dance in 2009. During his studies, he danced for the Hellenic Dance Company and the choreographer Valasia Simeon. After his graduation, he was awarded the Koula Pratsika Foundation Scholarship and started performing for several Greek choreographers and companies such as Dimitris Papaioannou, Oktana Dance Theatre, Jukstapoz. At the end of 2010, he moved to the Netherlands where he worked for Dorit Weintal – Dansmakers Amsterdam, to continue later in Berlin as a member of the cie. Toula Limnaios in 2011. From 2012 until 2019 he was creating, touring and performing internationally as a freelance artist with the Sasha Waltz & Guests company. In 2020 he danced for Alexandra Waierstall and currently (2021/22) he is performing in Christos Papadopoulos’ new work Larsen C. Since 2018, he has presented several choreographic works of his at the Athens Epidaurus Festival, Ufer Studios Berlin and Fabrik Potsdam Berlin.
Despina Lagoudaki Dancer
Born in Rethymno, Crete, Greece. She is a graduate of the Greek National School of Dance and has attended several masterclasses with well-known dancers and choreographers in Greece and throughout Europe. She has also been a part of the Hellenic Dance Company in many important productions in various locations, such as New York, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall and Piraeus 260. Some of her most remarkable moments include productions such as Prometheus Bound directed by Kostas Filippoglou at the Athens Epidaurus Festival, The Rite of Spring directed by Konstantinos Rigos for the Oktana Dance Theatre, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Romeo and Juliet, Dmitri Shostakovich – Chamber Symphony (in collaboration with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra), Medusa, Skalkottas’ The Sea by Dancers of the North (with TSSO) as well as Salema and Salema Revisited by Antonis Foniadakis. In 2020, she participated in Cinderella’s which was hosted at the ARC Theatre and was the first choreographic work by Alexandros Stavropoulos. Cinderella’s has been selected to be performed at the Aerowaves Dance Festival in 2021.
STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
364 Syggrou Avenue, Kallithea
+30 213 0885700
Box Office email: