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Thiago Bordin, based on the original choreography by Marius Petipa
Maia Makhateli (26, 27/11/22)
Ana Sophia Scheller (24, 30, 31/12/22)
Marta Rivero de Miranda (23/12/22)
Alicia Townsend (4/12/22)
Daniil Simkin (26, 27/11/22)
Gustavo Carvalho (23, 24, 30, 31/12/22)
Yorgos Hatzopoulos (4/12/22)
Maria Kousouni (26/11/22, 04/12/22)
Jovanka Zarić (30/12/22)
Margarita Kostoglou (27/11/22, 23, 24, 31/12/22)
Danilo Zeka (26/11/22, 04/12/22)
Vangelis Bikos (27/11/22, 23, 24, 31/12/22)
Yannis Mitrakis (30/12/22)
Evangelos Lafaras (27/11/22, 24, 30/12/22) / Thanassis Solomos (26/11/22, 04, 23, 31/12/22)
Hector Bollano (26/11/22, 04/12/22, 23, 31/12/22) / Florian-Michalis Pappas (27/11/22, 24, 30/12/22)
Stelios Katopodis (26, 27/11/22, 04, 23, 30, 31/12/22) / Angel Martinez-Sanchez (24/12/22)
Elena Kekkou (26, 27/11/22, 23, 24, 31/12/22) / Marita Nikolitsa (04, 30/12/22)
Eleftheria Stamou (26, 27/11/22, 23, 24, 31/12/22) / Marta Rivero-De Miranda (04, 30/12/22)
Igor Siadzko (23, 30/12/22) / Antonis Koruti (04, 24/12/22) / Yannis Gantsios (26, 27/11/22, 31/12/22)
Popi Sakellaropoulou (23, 30/12/22) / Anna Frangou (26, 27/11/22, 31/12/22) / Magda Kou kou-Ferra (04, 24/12/22)
Queen of the Dryads
Jovanka Zaric (26, 27/11/22, 04, 23/12/22) / Marita Nikolitsa (31/12/22) / Ariadni Filippaki (24, 30/12/22)
Marta Rivero-De Miranda (30, 31/12/22) / Zoi Schoinoplokaki (26, 27/11/22, 04/12/22) / Alicia Townsend (23, 24/12/22)
With the Orchestra, Principal Dancers, Soloists, Demi-Soloists, and Corps de ballet of the Greek National Opera
Ticket prices: €15, €20, €30, €35, €42, €50, €55, €70
Students, children: €12
Limited visibility seats: €10
Ballet • New production
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday & 31/12 at: 18.30)|
24 December performance starts at 19.00|
The Greek National Opera Ballet presents an ambitious new production of Ludwig Minkus’ Don Quixote, one of the most celebrated ballets ever created. The choreography by Thiago Bordin is based on the classic original choreography by Marius Petipa, first presented in 1869 at the Bolshoi. On for seven performances –between 26 November and 31 December 2022– inside the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), the work is conducted by Stathis Soulis, and has sets by George Souglides and costumes by Mary Katrantzou. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
Don Quixote is one of the most important and popular works in the classical ballet repertoire. Guided by the singular music of Minkus, the choreography tells a story imbued with the lofty ideals of knighthood and chivalry, and never fails to touch audiences thanks to its skilful mix of comedy and romance. It is also one of the most demanding ballets in the repertoire, and considered a major challenge for classical ballet dancers due to its high level of technical difficulty – the manner in which it is performed reveals the standing of a ballet company as a whole. There is a reason why, in the classical ballet world, it is said that a company that can properly perform Don Quixote can dance anything and everything. The work has inspired numerous choreographers and dancers across the globe, and is presented at most of the world’s opera houses each year. Don Quixote is based on episodes drawn from the renowned novel of the same title written by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) and published across two tomes, in 1605 and 1615 respectively. The ballet’s plot, which mainly draws from the latter tome, focuses on the tempestuous love affair between Kiteria –Kitri in the ballet– and Basilio. The adventures of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza, meanwhile, are treated here as secondary to the action. Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus studied music in Vienna, and by the age of 20 was a violinist, composer, and orchestra conductor. A few years after emigrating to Russia, he was appointed Inspector of Orchestras to the Moscow Imperial Theatres. He composed music for a number of ballets, some of which were choreographed by Marius Petipa. At a young age, Petipa travelled to Spain, where he was particularly taken by the country’s traditional dances. With Don Quixote, Petipa sought to capture the impressions and colours of Spain, beautifully expressing its dance traditions through his choreography. The results of this Minkus – Petipa partnership immediately met with massive success, leading to Don Quixote being firmly established as a timeless masterpiece of the world ballet repertoire.
For the creation of this new Don Quixote production, GNO Ballet Director Konstantinos Rigos sought out and selected artists of global renown: the choreographer Thiago Bordin to revive the classic original choreography by Petipa, internationally acclaimed Greek set designer George Souglides for the sets, and celebrated Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou for the costumes. Working alongside them are the animator Eirini Vianelli, and lighting designer Christos Tziogkas.
Following his hugely successful career both as a Principal Dancer at the Hamburg Ballet –where John Neumeier even created roles specially for him– and at Nederlands Dance Theater, Thiago Bordin has now established himself as one of the most important choreographers of the new generation, with a great love for classical ballet. The choreographer had this to say about his choreography for Don Quixote: “It is with great pleasure and excitement that I start this new journey, choreographing a new version of the lively and classic ballet masterpiece Don Quixote for the Greek National Opera Ballet. As I was asked by [GNO Ballet Director] Konstantinos Rigos to keep as close as possible to its original version, created by the great choreographer and classical ballet master Marius Petipa, who managed to change the ballet world from his own time right through until today, I have undertaken a lot of research, studying the many different versions that exist. It is quite difficult to really know what is original since there has been so much improvement in ballet technique over the years, and there have been many different versions all over the world. […] Given that the character of Don Quixote lies at the heart of it all, I believe that all the magic, all the fantasies are constructs inside his head since he does not see the world for what it is but rather prefers to imagine that he is living out a tale of knightly chivalry. He dreams of his ideal woman, Dulcinea, and battles against monsters, knights, and windmills. On this particular journey, which takes place in Barcelona, Don Quixote defends the virtue of the young lovers Kitri and Basilio against the will of Kitri’s father, who wants to marry her off to the wealthy and vain Gamache. One can experience this story through the eyes of the main characters but also through the eyes of the villagers, toreadors, gypsies, and nymphs. It is filled with pantomime and characteristic Spanish dances, and also features that classic dream sequence. I hope you all enjoy your evening at the ballet with this story, which for me has one main theme: love always wins in the end.”
Konstantinos Rigos notes: “Since classical ballet is the core orientation of the GNO Ballet, I had in mind for us to present a classic Don Quixote from the moment I was appointed Ballet Director. It is a work I love, and one I believe our company can perform to a very high standard. Of course, ‘classical’ in my mind has nothing whatsoever to do with dusty paper sets and mothballed old costumes, which is why –from the first– I reached out to artists who offer a unique vision and singular aesthetic. For the imaginative revival of the choreography by Petipa, we approached the acclaimed choreographer, and dancer at the Hamburg Ballet and Nederlands Dance Theater, Thiago Bordin. The sets are designed by an exceptionally visionary scenic designer, our very own George Souglides, who is forging himself an outstanding career across the opera houses of Europe; working alongside him is the animator Eirini Vianelli. For the costumes, we are bringing the foremost Greek fashion designer to the Greek National Opera for the first time: the internationally celebrated Mary Katrantzou, who is redefining the very notion of a ballet costume in her own, unique way. Taken together with the GNO Orchestra –conducted by Stathis Soulis– and the remarkable dancers of the Greek National Opera Ballet, as well as internationally acclaimed guest artists, I am certain we will create a Don Quixote that is at once classic and truly contemporary.”
Following on from his highly successful set designs for GNO productions of Carmen and Jenůfa, George Souglides is partnering with the GNO Ballet for the first time. He has created sets for productions at such prestigious events as the Salzburg Festival, the Bregenz Festival, and the Athens Epidaurus Festival, such major European and American opera houses as those of Chicago, Rome, Lisbon, and Valencia, and for such companies as the Royal Ballet and the Scottish Ballet.
Internationally renowned Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou is partnering with the Greek National Opera for the first time. Following her spectacular rise through the ranks of British fashion, Katrantzou has remained a constant presence in the fashion industry spotlight in recent times – indeed, her prints have forged an entire approach that has proven massively influential within haute couture as it stands today. The multiple awards she has garnered, her top-tier collaborations with some of the most important names in fashion, and the singular personalities of global renown who choose to wear her designs are all a testament to her reputation as an artist who has changed the course of 21st-century fashion. Katrantzou has designed costumes for the New York City Ballet and the Opéra national de Paris, and her creations have been exhibited at such major institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Dallas Contemporary.
The GNO Orchestra is to be conducted by the up-and-coming maestro Stathis Soulis. Joining the exceptional Principal Dancers, Soloists, Demi-Soloists, and Corps de ballet of the Greek National Opera as part of this production are internationally acclaimed guest dance artists.
The two November performances will feature two world ballet stars in the roles of Kitri and Basilio, in what is their first collaboration with the GNO: Maia Makhateli and Daniil Simkin. The award-winning Georgian dancer Maia Makhateli has been a Principal Dancer at the Dutch National Ballet since 2006, and has also appeared as a guest artist at some of the most important theatres and festivals the world over. In 2020, she was named Dance Europe magazine’s Critic’s Choice Dancer of the Year. The outstanding Russian dancer Daniil Simkin is a Principal Dancer at two of the most important dance companies in the world: the American Ballet Theatre and the Berlin State Ballet. Simkin has performed every major role in the repertoire, and has appeared in ballet performances and galas across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
The four final performances will see GNO Dancer Marta Rivero de Miranda (23/12) and the guest dancer Ana Sophia Scheller (24, 30, 31/12), in the role of Kitri. In the role of Basilio, the guest dancer Gustavo Carvalho.
On 4/12, the two lead roles will be performed by GNO Corps de ballet dancers Alicia Townsend and Yorgos Hatzopoulos.
In the role of Mercedes will be GNO Principal Dancer Maria Kousouni, and Corps de ballet dancers Margarita Kostoglou and Jovanka Zarić; performing the role of Espada will be GNO Principal Dancers Danilo Zeka and Vangelis Bikos, and Corps de ballet dancer Yannis Mitrakis.
Synopsis of Don Quixote, prepared by Thiago Bordin
PROLOGUE: An idea of a hospital. Don Quixote, a country gentleman, believes himself to be a valiant knight, straight out of the chivalric romances that are his favourite books to read. He picks his neighbour, Sancho Panza, to be his squire, and together they set off into a world of adventure. As Don Quixote dreams, Dulcinea –the heroine of these stories and his vision of the ideal woman– appears to him.
ACT I: A public square in Barcelona. Kitri, the daughter of Lorenzo the innkeeper, searches amid the crowds for her beloved, Basilio the barber. Her joyous dancing is interrupted by her father who –wanting her to marry the rich, noble, and silly Gamache– rebuffs Basilio. Kitri turns down the marriage proposed by her father, but the arrival of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza puts an end to their argument. Lorenzo offers them hospitality, inviting them to stay at his inn, but when Don Quixote sees Kitri, he believes her to be his beloved Dulcinea. Like a gentleman, he offers her his arm for a minuet. Gamache grows furious with this situation. Taking advantage of the confusion, Kitri and Basilio decide to flee.
Scene 1: The Gypsy camp. Basilio and Kitri take refuge in the mountains, by the windmills. They are discovered by a group of Gypsies who warmly welcome them and invite them to join in their celebrations. The Gypsies decide to help the lovers when they witness the arrival of Lorenzo and Gamache, followed by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, who eventually discover their hiding place. In the midst of a heavy storm and the panic it brings, Don Quixote suddenly finds himself faced with a windmill; he attacks, believing it to be some enormous enemy leading an army, but is hurled to the ground where he falls into a deep sleep. Basilio and Kitri manage to get away once again.
Scene 2: Don Quixote’s dream. Don Quixote, wounded and quite faint, dreams he has been transported into an enchanted garden filled with nymphs and a cupid (Amour) as a reward for his courage and loyalty. The Queen of the Dryads takes him to Kitri, whom he believes to be Dulcinea, but the dream then fades away, bringing him back to reality.
Scene 3: A tavern. Basilio and Kitri –happy to have escaped once more– celebrate their triumph with friends at a tavern. However, Lorenzo, Gamache, Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza waste no time in finding them once more. Lorenzo is absolutely determined: Kitri must marry Gamache. In desperation, Basilio resorts to subterfuge and pretends to commit suicide. Kitri begs Don Quixote to persuade Lorenzo let her marry Basilio – it was the young man’s final wish before his death. Don Quixote obliges Lorenzo to allow Kitri to marry Basilio. The moment her father gives his blessing, Basilio jumps gaily to his feet. Infuriated beyond all endurance by this trick they have played, Gamache challenges Don Quixote to a duel and is defeated.
Scene 4: The wedding. There is much merriment as the village celebrates the marriage of Kitri with her Basilio. Don Quixote is guest of honour, and the happy lovers dance for him. Don Quixote and his faithful servant then leave in search of new adventures.
STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
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+30 213 0885700
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