STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
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Ministry of Culture and Sports
Greek National Opera
All Star Verdi Gala
10 July 2021 – Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro)
Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili,
Yusif Eyvazov, Dimitri Platanias
The Greek National Opera Orchestra is conducted by Philippe Auguin
The Greek National Opera returns to live spectacles and presents the cultural event of the year. The absolute opera diva, the leading soprano of the 21st century, the one and only Anna Netrebko will appear for the first time in Greece at the biggest and safest open-air space in Athens, the Panathenaic Stadium. In the All Star Verdi Gala Anna Netrebko will perform alongside the acclaimed mezzo-soprano of our time Anita Rachvelishvili, distinguished tenor Yusif Eyvazov and renowned Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias. On the occasion of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Aida’s world premiere in Cairo, the four world-class opera stars who have excelled in the Verdian repertoire will perform famous operas and duets from Aida, Il trovatore, La forza del destino, Otello, Rigoletto, etc. The GNO Orchestra will be conducted by distinguished French conductor Philippe Auguin. The Gala is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.
On the occasion of this year’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Aida’s world premiere at the Cairo Opera House on 24 December 1871, the Greek National Opera presents an All Star Verdi Gala to mark its return to live spectacles. For this great celebration that will bring back opera’s driving force into our life, the GNO presents, for the first time in Greece, the leading soprano of the 21st century at the peak of her career, the one and only Anna Netrebko, who has redefined what it means to be an opera star. “Her charismatic expressivity pervades every element of her performance”, that’s what the New York Times wrote about the renowned soprano who was born in Russia in 1971 and has managed to leave an indelible mark on the roles she has performed at the globe’s most prestigious theatres. Netrebko, the most famous opera star in the world, became the first classical artist included in TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Within two decades, her riveting appearances at the leading opera houses and festivals of Europe, America and Asia, her multi-awarded recordings and numerous distinctions, and her explosive, vibrant and passionate personality brought her to the top. In 1996, at her first steps and long before she starts her astonishing worldwide career, Anna Netrebko had performed in a concert in Athens. Observing the changes in her voice and through constant study, she left behind her bel canto and Mozart’s roles and ventured into a more dramatic, highly demanding repertoire that includes operas of Verdi and Wagner.
The incomparable Anita Rachvelishvili managed in less than ten years after her triumphant debut at La Scala, Milan, to “take the opera world by storm” according to one of the raving reviews she received from the New York Times. Anita Rachvelishvili is a true star of the new generation of opera singers and every one of her performances is a prestigious event that exceeds the narrow limits of opera. Being an imposing and dynamic figure with a voice of impressive quality and volume, and having made exceptionally careful repertoire choices, Rachvelishvili started her career in Georgia and conquered the world’s leading opera houses and festivals, receiving triumphant reviews from international media and standing ovations from opera audiences worldwide. In 2018, in her debut in the role of Aida at the New York Metropolitan Opera, Netrebko shared the stage with Anita Rachvelishvili, “the best Verdi mezzo-soprano today on the planet”, according to Riccardo Muti. The rare chemistry between the two protagonists immediately hit the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. MET’s Aida was followed by a new production of Adriana Lecouvreur and, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t broken out, Anna and Anita would have starred together in the new MET production of Aida, which was scheduled to open the 2020/21 season. The new encounter of the two leading opera singers on the stage of Kallimarmaro in the All Star Verdi Gala is a highly anticipated event.
Dramatic tenor Yusif Eyvazov started his career from Azerbaijan. After completing his studies in Italy, he managed in a very short time to star at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals, including the Royal Opera House London, the Munich State Opera and the Vienna State Opera, La Scala Milan, the Opera National de Paris, and the Metropolitan Opera. His unique timbre, which Los Angeles Times described as “metallic, stentorian and markedly Italianate” and his extraordinary stage presence helped him carve out an exceptional career including leading operatic roles and opera recitals. Yusif has appeared on numerous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon including a complete recording of Puccini’s ‘Manon Lescaut’ live from the Salzburg Festival and with his wife, soprano Anna Netrebko’s on the cross-over album Romanza.
Renowned Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias continues the long tradition of Greek opera stars who stand out at the world’s leading opera houses. He is a permanent collaborator of the Greek National Opera and one of the most popular artists in Greece. From the Kalamata Conservatory, where he took his first steps, to the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), where he stars almost every year, Platanias is one of the most acclaimed baritones of his generation, with special love for and dedication to the Verdian repertoire. His timbre, his metallic voice, his ardent performances and careful choices of repertoire have been his passport to a very successful career in Greece and abroad.
Giuseppe Verdi, the most renowned composer of Italian Romanticism, was born in Le Roncole in northern Italy in 1813 and died in Milan in 1901. He studied music in the small town of Busseto and then in Milan. His earliest works were influenced by the revolutionary spirit of the times, echoing the struggle of small Italian states to be liberated from the Austrians and to be unified into one sovereign state. Verdi’s involvement with politics elevated the composer to the status of a national symbol (as an acrostic, “Viva, Verdi” meant “Viva, Vittorio Emanuele, Re D’Italia”) and in 1861 he was elected a member of the first Italian Parliament. Verdi’s most significant operas are Nabucco (1842), Rigoletto (1851), Il trovatore (1853), La traviata (1853), La forza del destino (1862), Aida (1871), Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893). In terms of aesthetics, Verdi’s music expressed the spirit of a ripe Romanticism, while on a political level it reflected his compatriots’ desire to see Italy free and united. He was loved by a particularly broad public and enjoyed a popularity that remains unfaltering to this day. In the midst of the historical, political and social changes taking place in the 19th century, Verdi was a composer who experienced that special moment in the history of music where high art became popular.
“A soprano with star power in the best sense, a charismatic expressivity that pervades every element of her performance” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times). The reigning prima donna of the 21st century, Anna Netrebko has redefined what it means to be an opera star. From singing at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics to becoming the first classical artist named to TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, she serves as opera’s leading global ambassador. Widely recognised as one of today’s most compelling, committed performing artists in any genre, she is perhaps the most celebrated soprano in the world. In live performance and on award-winning recordings, Anna’s portrayals of opera’s most iconic heroines have already made an indelible mark on the canon. More recently, as she ventures into bolder, more dramatic repertoire, her place in the annals of operatic history has only been further confirmed. In addition to regularly headlining productions with the world’s leading opera companies, Anna has appeared extensively in concerts and recitals across five continents. Her performances in celebration of the World Cup openings in 2006 at Berlin’s Waldbühne amphitheatre and in 2018 in Moscow’s Red Square were both internationally televised events. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist since 2003, Anna’s extensive discography comprises complete operas, concert repertoire, numerous bestselling solo albums, and a recording of love duets with her husband, Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov. Anna was named a 2020 Polar Music Prize laureate alongside American songwriter Diane Warren. Her other honours include being chosen as the 2018 Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon honoree, and winning the 2017 International Opera Award for “Best Female Singer”; the 2016 Opera News Award; Musical America’s 2008 “Musician of the Year”; three Grammy Award nominations; Germany’s prestigious Bambi Award; the UK’s Classical BRIT Awards for “Singer of the Year” and “Female Artist of the Year”; the Russian State Prize and designation “People’s Artist of Russia”; and Austria’s “Kammersängerin”. She is a global ambassador for Chopard jewelry. Born in 1971 in Krasnodar, Russia, Anna studied vocal performance at the St Petersburg Conservatory. A mother and passionate advocate for children’s causes, she shares her infectious joie de vivre –along with her love of family, fashion, and food– on social media, inspiring people to live their most colourful lives and to celebrate what makes them unique.
Georgian mezzo-soprano, οne of the most acclaimed opera singers of our time, she studied piano at the Mukhran Machavariani School and singing at the Vano-Sarajishvili Conservatory. She received a scholarship from the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, and in 2007 she won the Paata Burchuladze Prize. While still a student at the conservatory, she debuted at the Opera in Tbilisi as Maddalena in Rigoletto and as Olga in Eugene Onegin, subsequently joining the ensemble of the theatre in the fall of 2006. She came to international attention when she performed Carmen at La Scala, Milan (2009), opposite tenor Jonas Kaufmann under maestro Daniel Barenboim.She has subsequently sung Carmen all over the world for such companies as the Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera (Munich), Opéra Bastille, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Berlin State Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Teatro Regio Turin, with the Canadian Opera Company, and at the Arena di Verona. Moreover, she has earned high praise as Amneris (Aida, New York, Milan, Verona, Rome, Vienna, Turin), Azucena (Il trovatore, New York, London, Berlin, Paris), Dalila (Samson et Dalila, New York, Paris, Amsterdam), Marfa (Khovanshchina, Amsterdam), Princess de Bouillon (Adriana Lecouvreur, Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice, Peralada Festival, Spain) and Konchakovna (Prince Igor, New York, Amsterdam).Frequently also heard in concert, she has performed with many leading conductors including Riccardo Muti, Christian Thielemann, Antonio Pappano and Semyon Bychkov. Her first personal CD of operatic arias was released in 2018 by Sony Classical.This is the third time she performs in Greece with the Greek National Opera. In July 2018 she sang to great acclaim the role of Carmen at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and in July 2020 she gave a gala at the Roman Agora in Athens.
Yusif Eyvazov is an Azerbaijani dramatic tenor, who completed his advanced studies in Italy. He has since gone on to sing in the most prestigious opera houses and festivals in the world, including the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), the Munich State Opera and the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala Milan, the Opéra national de Paris, and the Metropolitan Opera New York. Yusif has appeared on numerous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon including a complete recording of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut live from the Salzburg Festival and a recording with his wife, soprano Anna Netrebko, on the cross-over album Romanza. On 9 March 2017, Yusif Eyvazov was awarded the title of “People’s Artist of Azerbaijan”. Highlights of 2020/21 season include Don Carlo at Bolshoi Theatre; Il trovatore at Gran Teatre del Liceu; Tosca at Vienna State Opera, Teatro Real (Madrid); Turandot at Arena di Verona, Manon Lescaut at Teatro Massimo (Palermo).
Greek baritone, he studied guitar with George Mavreas and voice with Maria Μarketou at the Kalamata Municipal Conservatory. He continued his studies in Italy under Masako Tanaka Protti (Alexandra Trianti scholarship, 2000). Since 2004 he has been studying under Aris Christofellis. He has worked with numerous Greek and foreign orchestras. He made his debut at the Greek National Opera as Alfio (Cavalleria rusticana, 2004) and since then he has sung numerous roles such as Marcello (La bohème), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Master (The Masterbuilder), Renato (Un ballo in maschera), Rigoletto, Amonasro (Aida), Germont (La traviata), Scarpia (Tosca), Di Luna (Il trovatore) and Telramund (Lohengrin). He has performed at distinguished theatres and festivals worldwide such as Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon), Munich State Opera, Frankfurt Opera, La Monnaie (Brussels), Bregenz and Salzburg festivals, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Bavarian State Opera, Opera di Firenze, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Valencia) and Stuttgart State Opera.
Born in Nice, France, he is considered among the most sought-after conductors worldwide. He studied conducting in Vienna and Florence and has been assistant conductor to Herbert von Karajan and Sir Georg Solti. From 2010 to 2018 he was music director of the Washington National Opera. Auguin has led an extraordinary career conducting the most prestigious orchestras in a vast operatic and symphonic repertoire in the world’s major opera houses and festivals such as the Metropolitan Opera New York, Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Salzburg Festival, etc. He was made an Honorary Consul of the French Republic (2002) and for his contribution to German culture he was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2005). He has conducted Tannhäuser (2009), Nabucco (2018), La sonnambula (2019) and Don Carlo (2020) at the Greek National Opera, where during 2019/20 he was an “Artist in Residence”.
All Star Verdi Gala
10 July 2021 / Starts at 21.30
Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro)
Conductor Philippe Auguin
Soloists Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Yusif Eyvazov, Dimitri Platanias
With the Greek National Opera Orchestra
The Greek National Opera has designed a set of actions to ensure all audience members, artists and staff members at the Kallimarmaro are kept safe. Following the guidance of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, social distancing shall be maintained between audience members, between the audience and the stage, and between the performers on stage.
LIDL HELLAS [www.lidl-hellas.gr]
Hotel Grand Bretagne [www.hotelgrandebretagne.gr]
Air transport sponsor
Lead Donor to the GNO
STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION (SNF) [www.SNF.org]