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On Saturday, July 17th 2021 Graham Vick, one of the leading opera directors of the world, passed away at the age of 67 from COVID-19-related complications.
He first collaborated with the Greek National Opera in the 2007/08 season directing through a contemporary prism Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera La bohème at the Olympia Theatre, a much-loved production that also ran in subsequent seasons with huge success. In January 2009 he directed Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser (a San Francisco Opera production), which was presented at the Alexandra Trianti Hall in Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall, receiving raving reviews, while in June 2011 his staging of the famous diptych Cavalleria rusticana – Pagliacci at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was also met with huge success.
Unfortunately, Graham Vick’s fourth collaboration with the Greek National Opera scheduled for the highly anticipated production of Don Carlo in 2019 was cancelled because of his health problems.
His productions have been mounted at the world’s most prestigious theatres such as La Scala (Milan), New York Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House (London), Mariinsky Theatre (Saint Petersburg), Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Arena di Verona, etc. Throughout his career he worked together with great conductors such as Muti, Levine, Haitink, Mehta, Ozawa, Gergiev.
He was director of productions at the Glyndebourne Festival (1994-2000) and founder of the Birmingham Opera Company (1987), where he served as artistic director until his death. He has been honoured with multitudinous international awards, including three times the Premio Abbiati and two times the South Bank Show Award for Opera. He was a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, an Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham, and the first International Chair of Opera at the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2009 he was also appointed “Commander of the Order of the British Empire”, and in 2016 he became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Subversive, already from a young age he had staged performances in prisons, factories, warehouses, football fields, poor neighbourhoods, while he had also collaborated with amateurs and groups of unemployed. His stagings have been described as fascinating, unconventional, often scandalous and provocative.