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The Greek National Opera’s 4th Online Festival titled Mediterranean Desert and curated by Giorgos Koumendakis brings to our screen four special recitals via GNO TV. The Festival’s videos will be streamed via GNO TV for free from 12 to 26 April 2021, and will remain available to the public for 30 days after their premiere. 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.
Baritone Dimitri Platanias, pianists Stéphanos Thomopoulos, Lorenda Ramou, Sophia Tamvakopoulou, visual artist Leda Papaconstantinou, and the Galan Trio, present works by Labelet, Xyndas, Samaras, Kamilieris, Spathis, Kalomiris, Constantinidis, Xenakis, Theodorakis, Koumendakis in four filmed recitals. The 4th Online Festival will be streamed entirely via GNO TV, for free, like the three previous online festivals, and the videos will remain on the platform for a month after their premiere.
The Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera Giorgos Koumendakis notes: “For the 4th Online Festival we invited leading music and visual artists to present us their own readings of famous and lesser known works of Greek composers. The invisible line connecting all these works we will watch and listen to, is the sense of the sea and, for this reason, the Festival was named Mediterranean Desert. We invite you all to enjoy them, with your thoughts wandering like a light summer breeze.”
4th Online Festival Mediterranean Desert
PROGRAMME OF THE 4th ONLINE FESTIVAL MEDITERRANEAN DESERT
Sketches on Mediterranean Desert by Giorgos Koumendakis | Piano Lorenda Ramou, director Leda Papaconstantinou
Premiere: 12 April 2021 at 20.00 [GMT +3], at nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en | It will remain online until 12/5
Mediterranean Desert is a cycle of short piano pieces composed by Giorgos Koumendakis, commissioned by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust and first performed in 2000. The new video for GNO’s 4th Online Festival features excerpts from the work performed by internationally acclaimed soloist Lorenda Ramou and directed by award-wining visual artist Leda Papaconstantinou.
Lorenda Ramou notes: “The composer’s musical language draws both upon the modality of Mediterranean music, the Byzantine psalmody and the Balkan traditions, as well as the baroque polyphony and the compositional output of Beethoven and Janáček. Even if these elements remain identifiable in his work, they are filtered and combined into a deeply personal compositional blend, leading to a music with flexible polyphonic lines, often irregular and elusive, which create melismas close to the Greek traditional folk music but also to the virtuosity of French baroque works for harpsichord.”
Koumendakis’ unadorned musical writing gives away his love for Beethoven. Mostly tonal, his music integrates modal and atonal elements, and sometimes in an obvious way, while other times in a less obvious way, it converses with many more composers, such as Iannis Xenakis.
Mikis Theodorakis, Trio for violin, cello and piano | Galan Trio
Premiere: 19 April 2021 at 20.00 [GMT +3], at nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en | It will remain online until 19/5
At the beginning of his career Mikis Theodorakis had composed a significant number of symphonic and chamber music works: his first Symphony, the Symphony in three parts, the Carnaval, the Four Pieces for December, the Sextet for piano, flute and string quartet, were all written in the 1940s. However, the huge popularity of later compositions, mainly his songs and popular oratorios, cast a heavy shadow over the first compositions. The Trio for violin, cello and piano was written in February 1947 and, along with the respective works by Kalomiris, Skalkottas and Sicilianos, it holds a special place in the Greek repertoire. It stands out for the imaginative way in which the three instruments converse with each other, and it shows Theodorakis’ compositional skills in the demanding field of chamber music too. The work is performed by the Galan Trio, a new instrumental ensemble consisting of the musicians of the GNO Orchestra Marina Kolovou (cello) and Babis Karassavidis (violin), as well as pianist Petros Bouras.
Premiere: 23 April 2021 at 20.00 [GMT +3], at nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en | It will remain online until 23/5
Acclaimed pianist Stéphanos Thomopoulos chose works by three great Greek composers of the 20th century for his online recital. Kalomiris and Constantinidis were born in Smyrna. The first formed his musical personality in Vienna and the second in Dresden and Berlin. The quite younger Xenakis was born in Brăila, Romania, and developed as an artist in France. Each of them was inspired by Greece in a different way: the first two were inspired by its traditional folk music, and the third by the ancient Greek philosophy. The short piece Nocturne belongs to Kalomiris’ first works, with its early draft having been created in 1906. Constantinidis’ Eight Greek Island Dances comes almost half a century later, in 1954. Herma (1960-1961) belongs to the works in which Xenakis applied mathematical theories –in this particular case, the set theory–, while his Evryali in 1973 is based on a technique devised by Xenakis during the 1970s and it’s his second greatest piano work.
Ionian School of Music | Soloist Dimitri Platanias, piano Sophia Tamvakopoulou
Premiere: 26 April 2021 at 20.00 [GMT +3], at nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en | It will remain online until 26/5
As the Ionian Islands were never occupied by the Ottomans, they uninterruptedly followed the development of European culture. Theatrical activity has been evidenced on Corfu already since the third decade of the 16th century, and an organised theatre and melodrama life since the first decades of the 19th century. For reasons of proximity, musical bonds were closer with Italy and especially Venice and Naples: Ionian composers were studying in Italian cities and Italian melodrama companies were visiting the Ionian Islands. In his recital, the distinguished Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias, accompanied by Sophia Tamvakopoulou on the piano, will perform typical songs by great Ionian composers: the Corfiots Napoleon Labelet, Spyridon Xyndas, Spyridon-Filiskos Samaras and Lavrentios Kamilieris (Lorenzo Camilieri), as well as Theodoros Spathis, son of the Cephalonian composer Spyridon Spathis. The lyrics are penned by celebrated poets such as Ioannis Polemis, Dionysios Solomos, Georgios Drosinis and Alexandros Pallis.
The Festival will be streamed for free.
To watch the Festival on GNO TV, please go to nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en and complete the very simple and free registration process. GNO TV is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.
Lead Donor of the GNO STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION