The Greek National Opera (GNO) announces the return of its fall programming (October, November, December) for the Alternative Stage, the company’s state-of-the-art performance venue dedicated to new music, experimentation, and creative dialogue between emerging and more established composers and theater artists. Housed at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), the Alternative Stage presents fourteen distinct productions and concert programs this fall, the majority of which celebrate 200 years since Greece declared its independence as a sovereign nation. The fall season is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach and also to create a tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution.
Among these bicentennial events are performances of Mikis Theodorakis’ song cycle Asikiko Poulaki, presented as part of a three-year performance series in remembrance of the internationally renowned composer, who scored Zorba the Greek and Serpico, among other films, over the course of an illustrious career writing for the concert hall, opera house, ballet stage, and more. The fall season also features five world premieres, including a new commission from Grawemeyer Award-winning American composer of Greek descent George Tsontakis, who also leads a masterclass for young composers.
Three new Alternative Stage productions, two of which are world premieres, are streamed this fall on GNO TV, a high-quality digital platform aimed at attracting audiences worldwide to Greek music for the concert hall and stage.
GNO Director of the Alternative Stage Alexandros Efkleidis said:
“We at the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera are thrilled to welcome our audience again to our home at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, regretfully inaccessible to the public for so long due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this troubled time of forced closure, unfortunately coinciding with the bulk of the bicentenary year of the Greek War of Independence, the Alternative Stage showed resilience and inventiveness in connecting with its audience via the alternative route of streaming; persevered in realizing its program of important premieres, not only of our timely bicentenary tributes but also of independent new music theater productions and commissions; catered to all kinds of audiences; organized outdoor events in collaboration with historical urban spaces in order to keep the spirit of live performance alive; and reached its widest ever global audience through our close collaboration with GNO TV.
“With our long-awaited return to the stage, we are proud to offer our public an exciting, live series of local and international staged productions, concerts, installations, and shows for young audiences, as well as the conclusion to our ambitious 1821 bicentenary tribute.”
The Alternative Stage’s fall season commences with the world premiere of a tribute to the bicentennial titled Capodistrias: Monodrama of a Secret Life,* composed by Calliope Tsoupaki (Oct. 1, 2, 3); Michail Marmarinos’ and Akillas Karazisis’ new three-part theatrical production Kolokotronis Contemplating the Future, Women Preparing for the Revolution, and I’ll Be Thinking of Something* (Oct. 9, 10, 14, 15, 16); the concert “Hebrew Melodies,” featuring songs by Isaac Nathan and Lord Byron (streamed Oct. 12 via GNO TV); and a new installation, Synthesis,* curated by choreographer Tzeni Argyriou and visual artist Vassilis Gerodimos (Oct. 29, 30, 31). “Hebrew Melodies” is part of a three-concert cycle, “Odes to Byron,” in tribute to the famous Romantic poet, who became an ardent supporter of the Greek Revolution.
With November comes a family-friendly “opera” without singers and “ballet” without dancers, Bibilolo, by Marc Monnet and Arno Fabre (Nov. 5, 6, 7); the world premiere of Nikos Xydakis’ quasi-operatic Martha: A Story from Missolonghi* (streamed Nov. 9 via GNO TV); A Greek Songbook,* curated by composer Kornilios Selamsis in celebration of the bicentennial and in collaboration with more than 30 fellow artists (Nov. 19, 20, 21); the world-premiere of Konstantinos Chatzis’ play with music titled Such A Beautiful and Just Case: Haiti / Greece / 1821* (streamed Nov. 24 on GNO TV); and the world premiere of Alexandros Mouzas’ monodrama for the “Odes to Byron” cycle, titled Shades in Hades* and directed by Thomas Moschopoulos (Nov. 27, 28).
The final month of the Alternative Stage’s fall season begins with the Theodorakis song cycle in tribute to the late composer (Dec. 4, 5). This is followed by a tribute to Anestis Logothetis on the centennial of his birth (Dec. 8); the concert “Rigas’ Flute,” inspired by revolutionary Greek poet Rigas Feraios’ interest in and talent for flute playing (Dec. 9); a “little musical” for young audiences, Silence, the King Is Listening, composed by Nikos Kypourgos and directed by Theo Abazis (Dec. 12, 19, 21-24, 26, 28-31 & Jan. 2); and the world premiere of George Tsontakis’ musico-theatrical The Air of Greece* (Dec. 17, 18), which concludes the “Odes to Byron” cycle.