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Greek National Opera Announces Full Scale Live Productions in Oct-Dec 2020 Season

The National Herald

A scene from the Greek National Opera production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. (Photo by Stefanos Kyriakopoulos)

ATHENS – The Greek National Opera (GNO) will resume full scale, fully staged live performances this autumn in the Stavros Niarchos Hall at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), with an exciting season from October to December.

The season features a revival of Hugo de Ana’s acclaimed 2017 Madama Butterfly for 12 performances beginning October 11, a special one-off piano recital in the Stravros Niarchos Hall as part of the GNO Alternative Stage Piano Festival which this year marks 250 years since the birth of Beethoven and is presented by some of the country’s finest soloists under the baton of Ondrej Olos on November 5, a new production of Don Quixote by the GNO Ballet directed by celebrated choreographer Thiago Bordin for 8 performances beginning November 21, and the world premiere of a new international co-production of Don Giovanni, directed by Royal Danish Opera Artistic Director John Fulljames and co-produced with the Göteborg Opera and the Royal Danish Opera will open for 8 performances beginning December 11.

With coronavirus having virtually wiped out live performance in Europe since March, and opera particularly badly affected due to the cost of productions and size of houses, many of Europe’s top opera houses are keeping doors shut for the rest of 2020.

However, the GNO’s decision to re-open, with public health and safety as top priority and driven chiefly by Greece’s pragmatic and widely praised handling of the pandemic, is symbolic of its flourishing role as one of the continent’s most ambitious opera houses.

Prior to lockdown the GNO was riding high following Olivier Py’s acclaimed production of Wozzeck and preparing to host Yorgos Lanthimos’s new project in collaboration with NEON, The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas with Marina Abramovic, Anita Rachvelishvili’s debut in the role of Charlotte in Werther, and a new Rigoletto at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

During lockdown, the GNO streamed a series of historic performances and as the nation re-opened, played an integral role in the nationwide festival All of Greece, one culture, including a live-streamed concert with an exclusive performance by Anita Rachvelishvili at the Roman Agora in the shadow of the Acropolis which was watched online by over 1 million people.

In the autumn the GNO will announce the 2021 program, with which they will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation supports the GNO artistic program of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

The 2021 program features an ambitious operatic co-production of the GNO and the Bavarian State Opera, the Berlin State Opera, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Opera National de Paris, postponed from this year, The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas by Marina Abramovic.

Beyond the anniversary season the GNO also announced a grand concert by Jonas Kaufman, sponsored by Rolex, which will see the “king of tenors” performing at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus for the first time ever in September 2021.

Greek National Opera Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis said, “The past four months have not been easy for anyone in the cultural sector, and opera has been struck particularly hard. Given that we were in the midst of our most artistically and internationally ambitious season ever, and on the verge of announcing an even bigger season to mark the 200th anniversary of the Greek revolution in 2021, we are more determined than ever to resume staging world class productions.

“The productions we announce today bring together the finest talent in Greece and a host of collaborators from around the world, to create world class, highly original and artistically adventurous interpretations of our finest operas and ballets.”

The GNO continues to develop and expand its artistic outreach policy, which the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) so generously supports through its four-year-long grant of 20,000,000 euros.

The Autumn program is available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_2o_A9dB0o.

The full GNO season program is also available online: https://issuu.com/gno2020/docs/mini_season_catalog_high_final_pages.