Monday, 11 May 2020

Ministry of Culture and Sports 1st Greek National Opera Online Festival EXIT: SPRING 17 May – 30 June 2020

 

Ministry of Culture and Sports (www.culture.gov.gr)
1st Greek National Opera Online Festival
EXIT: SPRING
17 May – 30 June 2020
www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
#GNOonlinefestival #exitspring
 
The Greek National Opera opens a new cycle of artistic programming. The first Online Festival titled EXIT: SPRING and curated by Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis spreads its wings into the digital world and invites us to a new viewing and listening experience. From 17th May to 8th June 2020, eleven new music, opera, operetta and music theatre video-performances created during the pandemic, as well as one recorded dance performance, come for free to our homes via www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page and GNO YouTube channel. All Festival video-performances revolve around the themes of the anticipation of spring, the rebirth of nature and the coming of the new. The Festival is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.
Responding to the challenges of the time, the Greek National Opera develops new means of creation and presentation of its work beyond the ordinary. While experiencing a new reality, whose end none of us can predict, we turn the forced absence from our standard artistic activity to a new creativity beyond norms and limitations. The first Online Festival EXIT: SPRING aims at offering friends of the GNO in Greece and across the world, a “digital” exit to this year’s lost spring, through music, dance and lyric art video-performances.
GNO’s Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis notes: “This year’s spring, due to the exceptional circumstances the planet is going through, could be considered as an unfulfilled spring, when we didn’t have the chance to live close to nature. With the goal of restoring the violent disruption of this relationship, the Festival will become our exit to nature’s spring, through the healing properties of music and art in general. The hope for the new age that will follow the pandemic, feels like the anticipation of spring. A while before we take our first steps into the new world that’s waiting for us out there, the Festival’s creations invite us to reflect, reappreciate what’s essential and leave all that is unnecessary behind, in the old world. This year nature flourished wildly due to the absence of human activity and the reduction of human intervention on the planet. This teaches us a lesson, that we must learn, about the future and the new age that is beginning. May this Festival set off alarm bells and may there be no need for any further human sacrifice to appease the god of spring.
Bach, Schubert and Tchaikovsky’s great piano pieces, Beethoven’s Spring Sonata No. 5, Poulenc, Massenet, Mascagni’s songs and arias, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, transcriptions of Bach’s pieces for percussion, “Spring” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Yannis Konstantinidis’ Dodecanesian Songs, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Giorgos Kouroupos’ The Assembly of Animals to a libretto by Pericles Korovessis, as well as opera povera and operetta povera, are some of the highlights we will see in the Festival’s video-performances by renowned artists, not just of the GNO, in unexpected places, with unexpected concepts, with a sharp eye, without conservatism, blinders or limitations.
In the Festival we will have the pleasure to enjoy, among others, the performances and creations of GNO protagonists, Cellia Costea, Tassis Christoyannis, Vassiliki Karayanni, Haris Andrianos, Chrissa Maliamani, Petros Magoulas, Yannis Christopoulos, Dimitris Paksoglou, Irena Athanasiou, Eleni Voudouraki, Pavlos Maropoulos, pianists Theodore Tzovanakis, Titos Gouvelis, Nicolas Vassiliou, Sophia Tamvakopoulou, Marina Satti and chórεs, the GNO Children’s Chorus, the GNO Ballet featuring a choreography by Daphnis Kokkinos, actor and dancer Elena Topalidou, animator Eirini Vianelli, soloists Michael Kolokotronis, Zach Tarpagos, Panagiotis Sioras, Angelos Sioras, Panagiotis Ziavras, the percussion duet Behind Bars, GNO Orchestra musicians, as well as conductors Elias Voudouris and Stathis Soulis.
 
EXIT: SPRING Online Festival / 17 May – 30 June 2020. Starts at 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
• Sunday 17 May │ Lonely Miniatures of Spring – Piano Theodore Tzovanakis
• Tuesday 19 May │ L. V. Beethoven’s “SpringSonata No. 5 – Violin Michael Kolokotronis, piano Titos Gouvelis
• Thursday 21 May │ Streaming of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Daphnis Kokkinos, featuring the GNO Ballet
• Saturday 23 May │ Cellia Costea performs the Lovely Month of May
• Monday 25 May │For A Spring Without Limitations – Percussion duet Behind Bars, GNO Orchestra
• Wednesday 27 May │ The Passage to Spring – GNO Orchestra Musicians
• Friday 29 May │ Yannis Konstantinidis’ Eight Dodecanesian Songs, featuring Marina Satti & chórεs
• Sunday 31 May │ Opera povera, conducted by Elias Voudouris, directed by Alexandros Efklidis, featuring GNO Soloists and a GNO Orchestra six-member ensemble
• Tuesday 2 June │ Appalachian Spring – A music and dance dialogue by Aaron Copland and Martha Graham – Conducted by Stathis Soulis. GNO Orchestra Musicians & Elena Topalidou
• Thursday 4 June │ Operetta povera, conducted by Elias Voudouris, directed by Alexandros Efklidis, featuring GNO Soloists and a GNO Orchestra seven-member ensemble
• Saturday 6 June │ G. Kouroupos’ The Assembly of Animals to a libretto by P. Korovessis – Τassis Christoyannis. Animation Eirini Vianelli
• Monday 8 June │ When Will, When Will Summer Come? – GNO Children’s Chorus Concert, Chorus Mistress Konstantina Pitsiakou

EXIT: SPRING ONLINE FESTIVAL’S FULL PROGRAMME
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Sunday 17 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 17/6
Lonely Miniatures of Spring
Piano Theodore Tzovanakis
Works Tchaikovsky, Schubert / Liszt, Koumendakis, Bach
Narrator Giorgos Koumendakis
Renowned pianist Theodore Tzovanakis put together a programme of eight sensitive miniatures for piano. It includes one of the 24 pieces of the Children’s Album composed by Tchaikovsky according to the model of similar works of Schumann, two Schubert’s songs transcribed by Liszt from the cycles Die schöne Müllerin (The Beautiful Mill-Girl) and Winterreise (Winter Journey) respectively, the “Three Mediterranean Herbs” from Giorgos Koumendakis’ Mesogeios erimos (Mediterranean Desert) and the highly famous “Aria on the G string”, as the transcription of the second part of Bach’s Suite No. 3 in D Major BWV 1068 is commonly known.
On the empty stage of the Stavros Niarchos Hall Theodore Tzovanakis performs the Lonely Miniatures of Spring, while the camera wanders through the empty spaces of the Greek National Opera. “We shall fill this void from scratch. Step by step, note by note, phrase by phrase, with our heart and mind, with music. A lot of music. Blossomed music. An exit to spring, an exit to life, together”, notes Giorgos Koumendakis.
> Video duration: 25 minutes
> Subtitles: Greek, English

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Tuesday 19 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 19/6
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5 in F major for violin and piano, Opus 24, “Spring Sonata
Violin Michael Kolokotronis, piano Titos Gouvelis
One of Beethoven’s most famous Violin Sonatas, Sonata No. 5, was posthumously titled Spring Sonata. This descriptive title was given by the publishers since this extroverted work gives off a spring mood and the joy of life through its melodic richness. The work is not only a tribute to spring but also an occasion for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the emblematic composer’s birth.
Michael Kolokotronis, Principal Second Violin with the GNO Orchestra, meets distinguished pianist Titos Gouvelis in the mysterious world of the GNO backstage, while images of spring in the city engage in a dialogue with Beethoven’s sounds of spring.
> Video duration: 23 minutes
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Thursday 21 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 28/5
Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – Streaming of a GNO Ballet performance
Choreography Daphnis Kokkinos
Sets Daphnis Kokkinos, Aida Vainieri / Costumes Dora Stylidou / Lighting Christos Tziogas
Piano Stefanos Nasos, Apostolos Palios
With the GNO Principal Dancers, Soloists and Corps de ballet
One of the most important ballets in the history of dance, Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring first premiered on 29 May 1913 at the Parisian Théâtre des Champs Elysées by Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet with a choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky and sets and costumes by Nikolai Rerikh. Stravinsky’s new sounds sounded particularly aggressive to the conservative audience of the time, but deeply affected contemporary composers.
Pina Bausch’s top Greek dancer, Daphnis Kokkinos, collaborated for the first time with the GNO Ballet and choreographed, also for the first time, The Rite of Spring, one of the works that have been uniquely associated with Pina Bausch. The choreography was given its world premiere in April 2019 by the Greek National Opera as part of the production From Russia with Love. Kokkinos drove the GNO Ballet to a high-intensity inward-looking interpretation and brought on stage elements of Pina Bausch’s choreographic language along with a brand new writing of his own that is full of sensitivity.
> Video duration: 38 minutes
> Video credits: Recorded on 10 April 2019 at the Stavros Niarchos Hall in the SNFCC

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Saturday 23 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 23/6
The Lovely Month of May
Cellia Costea recital
Piano Sophia Tamvakopoulou
Works by Schumann, Spathis, Poulenc, Massenet, Mascagni
The world-class renowned soprano of the Greek National Opera, Cellia Costea, presents a spring recital with famous arias and songs from her repertoire, accompanied on the piano by Sophia Tamvakopoulou. Starting with Schumann’s song “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” (The Lovely Month of May) and Theodoros Spathis’ “De m’agapas” (You Don’t Love Me), the programme also includes Francis Poulenc’s “Les Chemins de l’Amour” (The Paths of Love), Massenet’s nostalgic “Élégie” (Elegy) as well as the aria “Son pochi fiori” (Just A Few Flowers) from Pietro Mascagni’s charming opera L'amico Fritz (Friend Fritz).
> Video duration: 16 minutes
 
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Monday 25 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 25/6
For A Spring Without Limitations
Percussion duet Behind Bars
Transcribed works of Bach
Percussion duet Behind Bars was created in 2018 through the collaboration of members of the Greek National Opera Orchestra Panagiotis Ziavras and Marinos Tranoudakis, with the goal of bringing out an already existing rich repertoire for two percussion instruments, and presenting new works especially written for these two particular musicians. The programme includes transcriptions of famous works of Bach, the Italian Concerto BWV 971 and the “Aria” on which Goldberg Variations BWV 988 is based. The two musicians chose these works because they remind them of a spring without limitations, but also because the cheerful sadness of the music is a reference to the drama that the planet is currently undergoing due to the coronavirus health crisis.
Two marimbas and a vibraphone have been placed at the Greek National Opera’s foyer facing the SNFCC agora. The magical sounds of percussion prepare us for the exit to a spring without limitations and serve as a perfect foil for the images of empty Athens that remind us of the lockdown days.
> Video duration: 20 minutes

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Wednesday 27 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 27/6
The Passage to Spring
Flute Zach Tarpagos, Clarinet Panagiotis Sioras, Horn Angelos Sioras, Marimba Panagiotis Ziavras – GNO Orchestra
Works Bach, Vivaldi / Rousseau, Wildgans, Daughtrey, Lowry
The Passage to Spring is a music performance set up by four musicians of the Greek National Opera Orchestra: flutist Zach Tarpagos, clarinettist Panagiotis Sioras, hornist Angelos Sioras and percussionist Panagiotis Ziavras. The rebirth encompassed in the rite of spring, the journey from the innerness of winter to the joy of creation, the recreation and versatility of spring, are the foundations of the performance’s dramaturgy. As the passage from the Divine Passion to Resurrection symbolizes the passage from winter to spring, the passage from the exceptional circumstances of confinement leads to the rebirth of the contact of musicians with each other and with the audience. The performance is based on J. S. Bach’s cantata BW7 177 “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I Call to You, Lord Jesus Christ) and chorale BWV 299 “Dir, dir, Jehova, will ich singen" (To You Jehovah, I Will Sing), “Spring” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons transcribed by Jean Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Wildgans Three Improvisations opus 19a, Nathan Daughtrey’s Trio Burn 3 and Christopher Lowry’s composition Livewire!.
The passage from the spaces where the complex mechanical installations of the GNO are kept to the top of the stage tower and the costume construction workshops, intermingles with the dramaturgy of these music masterpieces.
> Video duration: 20 minutes

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Friday 29 May 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 29/6
Yannis Konstantinidis’ Eight Dodecanesian Songs
Marina Satti & chórεs
Concept Marina Satti
Music coach – Director Eirini Patsea
Movement coach Markella Manoliadi
Orchestral adaptation Yannis Belonis
Yannis Konstantinidis dedicated a large part of his compositional work to the harmonization and process of folk songs, which he loved and studied in depth. To this category belongs the collection of the Eight Dodecanesian Songs, including songs from Rhodes, Kastellorizo, Tilos, Karpathos, Kos and Kalymnos, from the “Waking of the Groom” and “The Wedding Song” to “Erini” and “Votsikata”.
Marina Satti & chórεs, following the trend of the coronavirus age, split in small groups, produce audio recordings, rehearse, film themselves one by one and create an exceptionally choreographed video performance, based on Konstantinidis’ work and bathed in the Greek summer light. Marina Satti notes: “Our wish is to create a contemporary composition inspired by folk song forms, choreographies and landscapes of the Dodecanese.”
> Video duration: 16 minutes
 
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Tuesday 2 June 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 2/7
Appalachian Spring – Aaron Copland
First violins Alexis Theofylaktou (Exarchon), Haralambos Karasavvidis, Second violins Argyro Seira (First Principal), Dorian Idrizi, Violas Ilias-Ion Livieratos (First Principal), Marina Stalimerou, Violoncellos Nikolas Prevezianos (First Principal), Marilena Vassou, Double bass Christos Komissopoulos (First Principal), Flute Nikos Nikopoulos (First Principal), Clarinet Ioannis Karayannidis (First Principal), Bassoon Giorgos Farouggias (First Principal), Piano Frixos Mortzos – GNO Orchestra Musicians
Solo homage to Martha Graham Elena Topalidou
One of the most famous works of American composer Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring for a chamber orchestra of thirteen instruments, was commissioned by the famous choreographer Martha Graham and the Coolidge Foundation. It first premiered in Washington on 30 October 1944 starring Graham herself, in a performance with a set by famous Japanese-American sculptor and architect Isamu Noguchi. In 1945 the composer created from the ballet a condensed Suite for a large symphony orchestra and a second one for the initial ensemble of thirteen instruments, which have ever since been independently performed in concert programmes. For this work Copland received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1945 and the New York Music Critics' Circle Award.
The thirteen musicians of the GNO Orchestra perform the work in the big Orchestra Rehearsal Hall at the SNFCC, keeping a two-meter distance from each other, while the heart-breaking solo of prominent Greek dance figure Elena Topalidou in an Athenian forest is a small tribute to Martha Graham, thanks to whom Copland’s leading work was created. Seventy-six years after its premiere in New York, Appalachian Spring still keeps signalling music’s great simplicity and immediacy, and contemporary’s dance timeless power.
> Video duration: 24 minutes

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Saturday 6 June 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 6/7
The Assembly of Animals – Giorgos Kouroupos
Libretto Pericles Korovessis
Soloist Tassis Christoyannis
Piano Nicolas Vassiliou
Animation Eirini Vianelli
The music fairy tale The Assembly of Animals with music by Giorgos Kouroupos and lyrics by Pericles Korovessis is performed by internationally acclaimed Greek baritone Tassis Christoyannis, accompanied on the piano by Nicolas Vassiliou. Animals are anxiously looking for a new leader. They create him themselves and, as all of them want him to represent them, each one offers him as a gift one of their properties. The result however is much different than what they expected. They create man and quickly regret it.
The assembly of animals is a great landmark in Giorgos Kouroupos’ career as a composer, as it is a highly demanding work, with unique melodies, references to Debussy and a rare setting to music of recently departed Pericles Korovessis’ exceptionally popular children’s book. It is an ingenious fairy tale that speaks to children and adults in an almost political language about the important matters of life and human nature.
Tassis Christoyannis gives a totally new, personal interpretation to the work, with great theatricality and exceptional utterance. Aiming at speaking to the heart of the children of our time, the GNO commissioned Eirini Vianelli to create from scratch a new animation for this fairy tale, after her extraordinary work on The Emperor’s Nightingale.
> Video duration: 24 minutes
> Subtitles: Greek, English

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Monday 8 June 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 8/7
When Will, When Will Summer Come?
GNO Children’s Chorus
GNO Children’s Chorus Mistress Konstantina Pitsiakou
Piano / Music coach assistant Marilena Souri
Αs part of its educational mission, the Greek National Opera Children’s Chorus proposes a programme that starts with the traditional song “Menexedes ke zoumboulia” (Violets and Hyacinths), passes through Greek art song “Mia Panagia” (A Mother Mary, by N. Gatsos) and ends with Schubert’s Seligkeit (Bliss) and Beethoven’s An die Freude (Ode to Joy), under the musical direction of Konstantina Pitsiakou.
More than 60 children of the GNO Children’s Chorus perform and record the concert’s songs from their homes under the guidance of Konstantina Pitsiakou. With the help of mobile phones, tablets and computers, this online concert with children’s voices will offer a much-needed note of optimism and a melodious exit from spring to summer.
> Video duration: 17 minutes
> Subtitles: Greek, English
 
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Sunday 28 June 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 28/7
Opera povera
Conductor Elias Voudouris
Director Alexandros Efklidis
Orchestral adaptation Yannis Belonis
Sets & costumes Alexia Theodoraki
Soloists Haris Andrianos, Vassiliki Karayanni, Petros Magoulas, Chrissa Maliamani, Yannis Christopoulos
GNO Orchestra 6-member ensemble: violin Alexis Theofylaktou, violoncello Nikos Kavakos, viola Ilias-Ion Livieratos, flute Thodoris Mavrommatis, clarinet Ioannis Karayannidis, bassoon Dimitris Dakovanos, horn Christos Kaloudis
The arte povera movement was reminiscent of the humble origin of art materials and highlighted concepts such as the reuse of materials and their repurposing out of their initial context. Rather playing with the reference to this great movement (and much less being serious about the possibility of applying it to a par excellence “rich” art such as opera) we try to invent ways to reconnect with the Greek National Opera’s audience.
Opera povera is a video-performance playing with a phantasy that is ever-present in the opera world: the phantasy of an ideal and unaltered classical form of performance. The art of opera is, afterall, a wonderful anachronism and it is this dimension that we highlight by returning not only to costumes and sets of earlier GNO performances, but also to the Greek-translated texts of the organization’s early decades of life. Memory pieces of bygone performances are once more recomposed, to be once again deconstructed and return to the inexistence of storage.
From Il barbiere di Siviglia to Die Zauberflöte, and from Lucia di Lammermoor to Rigoletto, Opera povera presents the virus-free art of opera, with modest means, large distances and old fashioned stage approaches.
> Video duration: 20 minutes
> Subtitles: Greek, English
 
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Tuesday 30 June 2020 – 20.00 [GMT+3]
Streaming via: www.nationalopera.gr, GNO’s Facebook page, GNO YouTube channel
The video will remain available online on GNO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel until 30/7
Operetta povera
Conductor Elias Voudouris
Director Alexandros Eflkidis
Orchestral adaptation Yannis Belonis
Sets & costumes Alexia Theodoraki
Soloists Irena Athanasiou,  Eleni Voudouraki, Chrissa Maliamani, Pavlos Maropoulos,  Dimitris Paksoglou
GNO Orchestra seven-member ensemble: violin Alexis Theofylaktou, violoncello Nikos Kavakos, viola Ilias-Ion Livieratos, flute Thodoris Mavrommatis, clarinet Ioannis Karayannidis, trombone Stavros Klavanidis, piano Domna Halari
Operetta povera video-performance is based on a concept of constructing and deconstructing a pictorial frame for popular excerpts of the genre to highlight the surrealistic and undermining world lying under the surface of the stereotypical beauty and convenient nostalgia, through which we are used to read operettas.
Arias and duets from Greek and Viennese operettas such as Thelo na do ton Papa! (I Want to See the Pope!), I kori tis kategidos (The Daughter of the Storm), O Vaftistikos (The Godson), Picnic, Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), I Apachides ton Athinon (The Apaches of Athens), are presented in the form of operetta povera, with modest means, materials reused in a different context, and with sets and costumes from earlier GNO performances, in a surrealistic take.
> Video duration: 20 minutes
> Subtitles: Greek, English
 
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The Greek National Opera would like to thank all the artists and artistic bodies, who granted their rights for free, in order to make sure that the broadcast of these video-performances of the festival will be free to the public, in this difficult time.

GNO Lead Donor
STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION