National Opera to stage ‘Carmen’ at Herodes Atticus Odeon

The Greek National Opera’s second major summer production is George Bizet’s groundbreaking Carmen, which will be staged at the Herodes Atticus Odeon on July 24, 26, 27 and 29 as part of the Athens Festival. With themes of love and liberty, the most popular opera in the French repertoire is conducted by Lukas Karytinos and directed by the famous British director, Stephen Langridge, currently Artistic Director of the Gothenburg Opera.
One of the most emblematic operas, Carmen still challenges its audience as much as when it was first staged, 140 years ago. The eponymous heroine defends her freedom and her right to choose her lovers instead of her being chosen by them. She is a menace for patriarchic societies, dominated by men. Her choices threaten the foundation of these societies. The only solution is to exterminate her. A task that is undertaken by the love-stricken and “betrayed” Don José. 
In the GNO’s new and exciting production of this revolutionary opera, the famous British director Stephen Langridge has remained faithful to the ideology and high standards of Carmen, setting the story in modern-day Europe. Well-known for his unconventional performances in British high security prisons among other things, Langridge exploits the realism of George Bizet’s legendary opera to explore the limits that are being imposed on us, in every imaginable area of our lives, now more than ever. This is Langridge’s third collaboration with the GNO after The Possessed by Vrontos (2001) and Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice (2007).
Sets and costumes have been designed by the renowned set designer Giorgios Souglides, born in Cyprus, who lives and works in France. 
Two of the most successful Carmens of our times, Rinat Shaham and Géraldine Chauvet, star in what is an exceptionally demanding leading role, both in terms of voice and stage presence. Israeli mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham first performed Carmen in 2004 at Britain’s famous Glyndebourne Opera Festival, garnering glowing reviews from music critics. Since then, she has performed this role around the globe in Rome, Catania, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna, Lisbon, Minnesota, Montreal, Tel Aviv, Miami, New York, New Zealand, New Orleans, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo and Sydney, and on a tour of Japan, to mention a few. She is considered the archetypal Carmen of our time worldwide. One indication of her impact is that the theatrical work Carmen Disruption was written by Simon Stephens about her life and career, and staged with great success in Cologne and London. 
The second cast stars the French mezzo-soprano Géraldine Chauvet, who caused quite a stir with her passionate, powerful performance of Carmen at the Arena di Verona in 2009 directed by Franco Zeffirelli, with Placido Domingo conducting. The following year, this time with the renowned tenor as Don José, they presented Carmen with immense success at the Tokyo Opera. Her Metropolitan Opera debut, where she performed the demanding role of Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, received glowing praise from the New York Times. She has also starred as Carmen at the Washington National Opera. 
The production’s outstanding cast includes acclaimed Greek and foreign soloists. The role of Don José in the first cast will be sung by the Italian-American tenor Leonardo Capalbo, student of the legendary Marilyn Horne, who has previously sung La Bohème at the GNO (produced by Graham Vick) and comes from the Royal Opera House, London, where he performed alongside our own Dimitris Platanias in Nabucco. In the second cast is GNO’s tenor Dimitrios Paksoglou who performs the role. The role of Escamillo is performed by two outstanding, new generation baritones in turn, the Greek rising star Dionyssis Sourbis and the Italian Omar Kamata. The role of Micaëla is performed by the Spanish soprano Saioa Hernández and the young Greek Anna Stylianaki, who we enjoyed recently in the role of Mimi in La Boheme at the Olympia Theatre. Alongside them are young and well-established GNO soloists Petros Magoulas, Nikos Kotenidis, Maria Mitsopoulou, Maria Kokka, Eleni Davou, Diamanti Kritsotaki, Kostis Rasidakis, Yannis Selitsaniotis, Alexandros Tsilogiannis and Christos Kechris.
With the Orchestra, Chorus, Ballet Members and Children’s Chorus of the GNO within the framework of its educational programme.    
Tickets are available from 25 euros in the upper tier to 100 euros in the VIP zone.