STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
364 Syggrou Avenue, Kallithea
+30 213 0885700
Starts at: 20.00 |
The video will remain available online until 2/11
The Festival is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach
Interwar period / Gennadius Library
Three of the greatest Greek art music works written during the Interwar period are performed at the Gennadius Library by mezzo-soprano Margarita Syngeniotou, accompanied on the piano by Apostolos Palios. Yannis Konstantinidis’s Songs of Anticipation, Manolis Kalomiris’s song Should I Speak? set to poetry by Kostis Palamas, and Dimitri Mitropoulos’s 10 Inventions, set to poetry by Constantine Cavafy.
THE MUSIC: The common intellectual mindset of Manolis Kalomiris and Kostis Palamas defined the creative work of this great Greek composer. Kalomiris set to music many of Palamas’s poems, and one of his Symphonies, the 3d, was titled “Palamiki”. The song Should I Speak? is the first from Palamas’s collection From the Five-Syllables.
Originally from Smyrna, just like Manolis Kalomiris, Yannis Konstantinidis went to Germany to study music a while before the Asia Minor Catastrophe in 1922. In Germany he presented his operetta The Love Bacillus (1927), that was also staged by the Greek National Opera a few years ago. That period (1924) he started to write the music for the Five Songs of Anticipation, set to poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, a project he was involved in until 1980.
Dimitri Mitropoulos ended up to ten Inventions, set to poetry by Constantine Cavafy in 1924, after choosing from a collection of fourteen similar compositions he had created. The pieces were arranged in a cycle consisting of four units [1. Four canons, 2. Two passacaglias, 3. Prelude and Fugue in four voices, 4. Pedale – Coda (Finale)], which first premiered in 1927 at the concert hall of the Athens Conservatoire performed by soprano Popi Sertsiou and the composer himself on the piano.
THE ARCHITECTURE: The building of the Gennadius Library designed by American architects John van Pelt and Stuart Thompson is a late sample of neoclassical architecture. Neoclassicism emerged in Europe in the mid-18th century, principally inspired by the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. It flourished mainly in Munich and it was then introduced to Athens thanks to the Bavarians as the par excellence architectural style that befitted the capital of the newly-founded Greek state. The Gennadius Library was constructed in this style almost a century later, between 1923 and 1925.
Ministry of Culture and Sports
2nd Greek National Opera Online Festival
A “consonance” of Greek art music with public architecture
27 September – 31 October 2020
The Greek National Opera presents its 2nd Online Festival titled “Counterpoints”*. The festival is curated by Giorgos Koumendakis and sheds light upon the relationship between Greek art music and architecture. The Festival’s videos will be streamed online from 27 September to 31 October 2020 and will remain available to the public for 30 days after their premiere. The videos will be streamed online at nationalopera.gr/en, on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Sports digitalculture.gov.gr.
Architecture and music are two arts that share a lot in common: the primacy of structure, the importance of shapes, contrasts and textures, and the deep and immediate communication with the viewer. Through the dialogue of these primordial arts, emblematic buildings of Athens converse with great works from the historical repository of Greek art music. Reaching from the Cretan Renaissance to the present day, works of architecture and music of a respective historical period and style complete each other, offering a fruitful experience to the audience. The Festival’s ultimate goal is to bring out our country’s musical and architectural legacy through the harmonious and equitable pairing of the images of the buildings with the sounds of the works, while communicating to the audience the Greek music and architectural creation.
The Festival was shot at some of the greatest buildings of Athens, such as the Church of the Holy Apostles at the Ancient Agora, the Gennadius Library, the French Institute, the Little Stock Exchange, the Athens Conservatoire, and the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. In these places, celebrated Greek artists perform works of Londariti, Konstantinidis, Kalomiris, Ravel, Kounadis, Adamis, Dragatakis, Xenakis, Hatzis, Papadatos, Alexiadis, etc. The Festival is curated by Greek National Opera’s Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis.
Giorgos Koumendakis notes: “When last March, in the midst of the pandemic, we began planning a new online artistic programme, we could not imagine how successful our 1st Online Festival (May-June 2020) would be. Each of its video performances attracted tens of thousands of viewers and many positive comments from across the globe.
After a lot of demanding shooting in the summer, the time has now come for the Greek National Opera’s 2nd Online Festival, titled Counterpoints, which shall engage Greek art music into a creative dialogue with public architecture. Our wish is to celebrate Greek musical creation, from the Cretan Renaissance to this day, bringing to the foreground some of the most remarkable compositions of great Greek composers, such as Londariti, Konstantinidis, Kalomiris, Kounadis, Adamis, Dragatakis, Xenakis, Hatzis, Papadatos, Alexiadis. We asked distinguished artists of the GNO and beyond, to study and interpret these emblematic art music works in prestigious buildings that form part of the historical legacy of Athens. From 27/9 to 31/10, we invite you to travel with us –through the screen of your computer, tablet or mobile phone– using our music and architectural legacy as a vehicle, and making stopovers at the Cretan Renaissance, the Interwar period, the encounter of our folk music with art music, modernism, Xenakis’s universe and the 21st century.”
* Counterpoint is the way that many melodies are harmonically interconnected – the simultaneous consonance of many different melodies resulting in a harmonious composition.
The Greek National Opera would like to thank the Management of the National Bank of Greece, the French Institute of Athens, the Gennadius Library, the Athens Conservatoire, the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”, as well as the Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Athens for providing permit for the shooting of the videos and for their exceptional collaboration.
The Greek National Opera would like to thank all the artists and artistic ensembles, who have given their permission for the free broadcast of these video-performances to the public, in this difficult time.