6 Swan Songs of the National Opera Farewelling the Old Olympia Theater Before Moving to the SNFCC

Myron Michailidis, the artistic director of the Greek National Opera, presented the organisation’s new programme. He outlined future goals and gave an appraisal of last year’s offerings just as he routinely does at the start of every opera season. This time, however, there was an elephant in the room, tugging at the heart strings of those who had seen the opera grow, but this discomfort was blatantly ignored as a small nagging sacrifice for flashier facilities.

The heartache of leaving a building that contained so many memories was left unattended  as the administration pointed to bigger and better things to come once the opera moves to its new complex at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in 2017. Any feelings of nostalgia were tossed aside – pushed – along with that elephant – out of the room in the name of progress.

And yet as we focus on new beginnings, we cannot help but ponder on the memories that will be left behind: brilliant performances oftentimes performed on a shoestring budget; gliding down the marble staircase and almost slipping into the cosy foyer; shuffling through the crowds to get to the opulent bar area for a dainty egg and cucumber sandwich; wiggling in those uncomfortable velvet seats, trying hard not to make them creak so as not to spoil the experience of a perfectly executed bel canto.

Soon the props, sets and costumes will be sit tidily in boxes at the same foyer where VIPs and their wives in swishing gowns drank champagne and where – more recently – Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas overlooked Michailidis present the final curtain call for the old Olympia Theater. The lived-in history wrapped in the theatre’s walls will be left behind. Memories will spill out everywhere, spinning out of orbit until they crystallize – immortalized – in time and trapped within the old Academias street building.

All that’s left is the last swan song or six before the voices of the old are drowned out by progress in the new state-of-the art boxed-in facility of the Stavros Niarchos modernistic gem by the sea.

PROGRAMME

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Renowned soprano Myrto Papathanasiou pays tribute to Maria Callas. Proceeds go towards the creation of a new “Maria Callas” Opera Art Academy to be hosted the legendary opera singer’s old apartment at 61 Patission Street Athens. Tickets are at €20, € 25, €30, €40, €70 with concessions for students, children and the visually impaired at €15.

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Theofrastos Sakellaridis’ operetta The Godson (Vaftistikos) is a trademark work of the Greek National Opera, performed so many times in the past with great success. A series of mishaps and misunderstandings filled with comic twists and cheerful melodic turns. Main roles performed by: Georgia Elioupoulos, Gina Poulou, Diamanti Kritsotaki, Despina Skarlatou, Dimitris Paksoglou, Nikos Stefanou, Stamatis Beris, Yannis Yannisis, Kostis Rasidakis. The Orchestra, Choir, Ballet dancers and Soloists of the Greek National Opera participate in the work. Tickets are at €15, €25, €30, €35/Concessions for students and children: €10, with limited visibility tickets €7, €10, €12, €20.

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The Greek National Opera’s collaboration with the Greek National Theater marks a first. They join forces in a work by Antonis Foniadakis, titled “Galaxy”, that experiments with the idea of the beginning, of creation, and the osmosis which is generated when primary elements come into contact with each other. Scientific texts, conversations from astronauts, verses, definitions of interstellar objects together with the music of György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Julien Tarride accompany the dancers and two actors on their journey to the stars.Featuring the Greek National Opera Ballet dancers Magda Koukou-Ferra, Stelios Katopodis, Michael Doolan, Thanassis Solomos, the National Theatre actors Konstantinos Georgalis, Leoni Karavassila, and modern dancers Yannis Lavner, Pierre Mazenti, Ioanna Paraskevopoulou and Maro Stavrinou.

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Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” is a veritable masterpiece and one of the most popular operas with well-known arias and duets enveloping a tragic story of great love frustrated by social conventions. Nikos S. Petropoulos’ production is being revived by the Greek National Opera for the first time at the A. Trianti Hall of the Athens Concert Hall for just 7 performances in November 2016. With the Orchestra, Choir, Ballet dancers and Soloists of the Greek National Opera.

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Adolf Adam’s “Giselle” – choreographed by Irek Mukhamedov based on Marius Petipa’s classic version – comes to the Olympia Theater stage one last time to show the frustration of unrequited love with the participation of the Greek National Opera’s principal dancers, soloists, demi-soloists and corps de ballet. Ticket prices: €15, €20, €25, €30, €35, €45/Concessions for students and children at €10, and limited visibility tickets at €7, €10, €12, €20.150 tickets of €5 each will be available for the unemployed at the second performance of the production, on Saturday, December 7, 2016.

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