In the 2023/24 season the Learning & Participation Department of the Greek National Opera presents a great variety of programmes incorporating opera, music, dance and visual arts in a series of artistic, experiential and participatory learning activities for children, teenagers, schools, adults, persons aged 65 and over, young people from Accommodation Facilities for Unaccompanied Minors, penitentiaries across Greece, persons with or without disability, socially vulnerable groups, as well as amateur and professional artists from Athens and the rest of Greece.
From October 2023 to June 2024, a multitude of programmes will target a wide range of audiences with the goal of developing their artistic skills through experiential learning, equitable collaborative participation in the creative process, strengthening of interaction and dialogue, and acceptance of diversity.
In the new programme, the GNO Learning and Participation Department breaks new ground by enhancing the social character of its programmes, placing emphasis on fully accessible art, intensifying creative quests across the opera and dance repertoires, developing the connection with audiences all over Greece, and expanding its collaborative network with other cultural organisations in Greece and abroad.
Moreover, the timeless philosophy of the GNO Learning and Participation Department acquires its own emblem for the 2023/24 season: the plastic chair – a widely used object, which can be moved and placed anywhere at any given moment, is used as a symbolic representation of the omnipresent art, the art that goes beyond conventional theatre halls, the improvised and the spontaneous, the simple and the unpretentious, the here and now, the collective. The visual identity was designed by studiomateriality.
- Activities for Schools continue vigorously through the educational programmes Opera Interactively Into Schools for Secondary Education Schools and 3d Bell Opera for Primary Education Schools. Opera Interactively Into Schools, which aims at introducing teenagers to the enchanting world of opera, completes its tour to Junior High Schools all over Greece in November 2023 and gives nine hundred more schools the chance to participate in it through distance learning via a new exciting digital platform titled Opera Box. For all those who wish to be initiated into opera online, and to all those who have already been introduced to it live but keep seeking new ways of approaching the lyric art, Opera Box turns the comic opera Offenbach’s La belle Hélène, scored by Kornilios Selamsis and with a libretto by Alexandra K*, into a film and offers experiential activities, a fascinating musical video game, quizzes, video animations, modern musicological texts and many more possibilities. This year, the 3d Bell Opera programme, aiming at spreading modern and innovative tools to teachers as well as at introducing teachers and students into the artistic process of preparing and presenting a contemporary music theatre work, brings to the foreground the new work: Fantastic Street: Enter Through the First Drawer… Guest Star: the Ghost of Gianni Rodari!, scored by Sofia Kamayianni and with a libretto by Anastasia Stylianidi.
- This season, Projects for Children return with a renewed list of delightful proposals with abundant opera and dance activities for children and parents. The educational programme Pocket Opera & Ballet brings five GNO productions in the form of mini interactive performances intended to introduce infants, toddlers and Primary School children into the world of opera and dance. Pie in the Sky is a modern-dance duet that will be presented on the GNO Alternative Stage, inviting young and older audiences to a singular artistic experience of movement and intense expressiveness. This section also includes programmes that will run in collaboration with the GNO Ballet: the dance game Baby Boom Dance for infants and their parents, the original workshop Do You Choreograph? for Primary School children, and Coppélia for dance students aged 10 to 16 – inspired by the production of the same title that will be presented by the GNO Ballet in the Stavros Niarchos Hall. Moreover, the filmmaking workshop Opera Filmmakers for Junior High School children continues for a third year in collaboration with the Olympia International Film Festival for Children & Young People, which – this year – is aimed at Junior High School students of Pyrgos (Elis), with the goal of turning them into the creators – composers, librettists, singers, actors – of a mini film opera.
- Intercultural Education Projects continue this season too. Co-OPERAtive, the intercultural opera hub for a mixed group of Athenian teenagers and minor asylum-seekers from all over Attica, returns for a fourth year. Through the blending of different approaches, group spirit, and the personal and spontaneous expression of participants, a complete music theatre performance will be created with the participation of the Co-OPERAtive team members. The Intercultural Orchestra and Intercultural Choir ensembles continue their journey across world music traditions, explore new perspectives and new partnerships, and add three live performances to their programme. The Intercultural Orchestra will perform on 19 December 2023 at Parnassos Literary Society and will take part in the 2nd GNO Sacred Music Festival in April 2024, while the Intercultural Choir will travel for a singular concert to Vamvakou (Laconia), on 2 December 2023, as part of the long-standing partnership of the GNO Learning & Participation Department with the Vamvakou Revival project.
- Projects in Penitentiaries, held since 2017, continue this year too. This season they will be conducted once again in the Female Penitentiary of Eleonas in Thebes, the Korydallos Penitentiary I, and the Special Youth Detention Center in Avlonas, but also in the Special Youth Detention Center in Volos and the Penitentiary in Chania. Cultivating creativity, teamwork, and free expression remains the main goal of these programmes, which also encourage meaningful communication among the participants and contribute to their smooth social reintegration.
- Projects promoting Full Accessibility through the cycle All Together at the Opera continue for a third year. The 2023/24 cycle includes a new series of interdisciplinary workshops titled Moving Soundscapes, which is aimed at special education schools, teenage students with or without visual/hearing disability, special education teachers, and educators at large. The workshops will employ a variety of physical experiential learning techniques to unleash the participants’ artistic expression, as well as to boost inclusive education. Furthermore, this year’s two fully accessible performances to be presented will be Giacomo Puccini’s timeless masterpiece La bohème in the Stavros Niarchos Hall and the multi-awarded musical Into the Woods on the GNO Alternative Stage.
- The Projects for Young Artists & Amateur Ensembles include an electroacoustic composition workshop cycle titled Latent Space. During the workshops, participants will attempt to give sound to the written word, drawing inspiration from the literature on Richard Wagner’s colossal work Die Walküre. The workshops will be conducted in collaboration with the National Library of Greece. One more new cycle of music, theatre and creative writing will also begin for the Roma community, titled Masali. Through story-telling participants will unravel the thread of the Roma social history and map the Gipsy culture.
- As far as Projects for the rest of Greece are concerned, Melisma, the year-long series of artistic workshops that were successfully held in the previous season in Northern Evia on the occasion of the catastrophic wildfires of 2021, will present at the beginning of 2024 a documentary treating the relationship between man and natural environment while capturing the creative journey of the workshops themselves. The film is made by Caravan Project.
During the 2023/24 season, and with the funding from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the list of educational programmes becomes further enriched with a big series of targeted projects for persons aged 65 and over, nursing homes in Attica, Friendship Clubs, persons with or without disability, as well as educators and other professionals interested in adopting art-based methods of inclusion. Moreover, another fifteen performances are going to be added to the list of fully accessible productions to be presented in the Stavros Niarchos Hall and on the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera. More information will be announced shortly.
Manager: Eva Karterou
Production Manager: Kalliroi Papadopoulou
Research, Coordinator of educational design: Ann-Kristin Sofroniou
Artistic Associates: Kiki Kerzeli, Michalis Moschoutis, Christina Spanou
Publicity, Communication: Myrsini Vasilopoulou
Opera interactively into Schools project manager: Panina Karydi
Melisma project manager: Leonidas Panagopoulos
As part of the colaboration between the Greek National Opera and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center Membership Program, the GNO Educational & Social Activities have reserved a limited number of places for the SNFCC Members in selected children's workshops and adult lectures.
GNO Learning and Participation major donor