The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Grant

The Greek National Opera would like to thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, its Co-President Mr Andreas K. Drakopoulos, the Board Members and all the executives of the Foundation for their priceless contribution and unequivocal support to the work of the GNO. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s grant for the construction and equipment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center proceeded at an impressive pace, and as a result of that, in 2017 Athens acquired a milestone work that has already become a destination, a meeting point and a place of contemporary cultural creation for thousands of Athenians and visitors of the city. The facilities of the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece have already become an object of admiration attracting raving reviews from thousands of visitors and the Greek and international media. However, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s contribution to the Greek National Opera has not only been limited to the construction of its new facilities but it now runs through every aspect of its operation. Already since 2015 the SNF has taken the initiative to support the Greek National Opera and the National Library with a 5 million euro grant, to each organization respectively, to cover the needs of their transition to the SNFCC. This grant allowed these institutions to meet their needs in equipment, know-how, training and, mostly, to develop a new content, linked to their new era at the SNFCC. The Greek National Opera through this grant has managed, among others, to retrain its staff and improve its skills, preserve part of its sets and costumes, develop a Department for Education and Social Programmes, and staff and create from scratch the artistic programme of its Alternative Stage. The Alternative Stage is an artistic space which summarises the philosophy behind the choices of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation: a space of contemporary and restless creation, accessible to all, aiming at many audience categories at the same time and investing in education and social return. Through the Alternative Stage, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation morphs into an vital cultural work, a living art of our time. The support to the sole opera house in Greece, the Greek National Opera, offered by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation constitutes a major national benefaction. We are very thankful for all that has been achieved and we set the foundations for what is yet to come.

 

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, the Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, and the Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera, Mr. Giorgos Koumendakis, announced a major new grant of €20 million by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to the Greek National Opera (GNO).

The grant will support the implementation of a four-year programming and development plan that will enhance the artistic outreach of the GNO and the promotion of its work abroad. This plan includes the development of targeted artistic collaborations, co-productions, guest productions, and international tours that will contribute to the formation of a new artistic identity for the GNO.

The grant will also support a year-long program of events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, while at the same time a large promotional campaign in major media outlets across the world will amplify the GNO’s international appeal.

 

The Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, stated: “The relationship between the SNF and the GNO is not circumstantial or ephemeral. The SNF has been supporting the GNO for years. From supporting the GNO’s outreach to society at large, even before the construction of the SNFCC [the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center], the establishment of its new facilities, the development of the new Alternative Stage, and the inclusion of vulnerable groups through its educational activities, we have stood side by side with the GNO to support its goal to progress. For us, as Greek citizens, the GNO stands as a national treasure. We deeply appreciate the vision, the “philotimo” and the dedication that the people of the GNO exhibit, under the guidance of Giorgos Koumentakis. Within the framework of the excellent and harmonious cooperation that we have had over the years, we continue to support the GNO in claiming its place in the sphere of opera theaters, through synergies with international operas, artists, and composers. In addition, with the new SNF grant, the GNO, this significant national cultural organization, will participate with all its might in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821.”

The Artistic Director of the Greek National Opera, Mr. Giorgos Koumendakis, stated: “The new four-year grant by the SNF to the GNO, totaling 20 million euros, which was just announced by Andreas Dracopoulos, will give great impetus to our international presence. It will substantially support our artistic vision and essentially help us to work systematically towards a truly new artistic identity, the first examples of which we have already exhibited in the two years we have been here, at the SNFCC. The announcement of this new grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, beyond the great joy that it brings us, emphasizes our own commitment to developing an integrated four-year plan.

The main axes on which we will work systematically, with sensitivity and perspective, are the following:

- Partnerships, co-productions, collaborations with important lyrical—and other—theaters, ballets, and dance groups from around the world, in productions with a unique artistic point of view, which can take our artistic identity one step further.

- Guest appearances/residencies and performances by great conductors, directors, soloists, choreographers, stage designers, costume designers and dancers, who articulate a special artistic discourse, are at the cutting edge of their careers, and with whom we can develop an equal and creative relationship.

- The export of our artistic work. An essential need of the GNO, but also of modern Greek culture in general, is the targeted and systematic export of primary artistic creation. Greek artists, Greek ensembles, and our composers create artistic work of the highest quality and the time has come for this work to travel and become known outside of Greece. As you know, in recent years, the GNO has commissioned many new works, debuts and interesting artistic creations. This new grant will allow our performances to travel, the new musical works—already written and about to be written—will be presented in theaters and festivals, and Greek artists who deserve it will have the opportunity to try their creations with new audiences

- A year-long GNO tribute to the Greek Revolution of 1821. For 2021, as part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the Greek Revolution, we are planning new opera and ballet productions, commissions of new plays, and co-productions with important ensembles and distinguished Greek and foreign artists. The main objective of the tribute is to interpret the Greek Revolution as an international rather than local historical event, but also to demonstrate the connection with the revolutions that led to the creation of the major independent nations of the modern world, i.e., the French and American Revolutions.

- Lastly, in order to be able to showcase our artistic work inside and outside of Greece, part of the grant is allocated to the promotion of our organization.

I would like to thank Andreas Dracopoulos from the bottom of my heart, and publicly, for this very important contribution, the sustained support of the SNF to the GNO, and, above all, for his personal perseverance in rewarding the common good.
It is important to clarify that the new SNF grant is in no way a substitute for the role of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, which is responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning and survival of the GNO.”

 

Address of the Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Andreas K. Drakopoulos

Every organization is its people. In the people of the Greek National Opera we have found partners with whom we have built relations of mutual trust. We grow up and dream together. We set goals and face challenges. In this journey, from our side, we have the chance to let ourselves go and enjoy the magic of the opera as spectators, as well as the joy to be there for it as partners and Donors. From the announcement of the plans to create the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, to the “Suitcase Opera” initiative, the Journey to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the “birth” of the Alternative Stage and the support and expansion of its Educational Programmes and Social Activities - through each stage, we had the honour to walk side by side with the GNO as it was making its steps toward opening up to a continuously expanding audience, by offering to it what it needed in order to make its big transition to its new home and add new elements to its main activities and programmes: staff training, equipment upgrade and musical instruments purchase, international co-productions and educational workshops. The GNO’s successful debut at its new home was confirmed by the admittedly warm response of the people. We renew our presence, we stand by the people of the GNO, we embrace the ideas, the professionalism and the will to innovate, and we wish for days of creativity and uplift through the art offered to us by the Greek National Opera. Thank you.

Andreas K. Drakopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation