The Greek National Opera: The full programme of the new season

The Greek National Opera starts its 2022/23 season with ten new major opera and ballet productions, co-productions with some of the world’s leading opera houses and celebrated directors and singers.

Productions in the 2022/2023 season

Andrei: A Requiem in Eight Scenes • New production
Dimitra Trypani

25, 27, 28 September
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Concept, composition, music instruction, director, conductor: Dimitra Trypani
Original libretto: Pantelis Boukalas
Sets: Elena Stavropoulou • Costumes: Nikos Kokkalis • Choreography: Ermira Goro • Lighting: Valentina Tamiolaki • Sound design: Konstantinos Bokos
With (in alphabetical order): Iro Bezou, Irini Bilini-Moraiti, Thanasis Dovris, Valia Karagiorga, Giorgos Kasavetis, Marianna Kavallieratos, Dimitra Kokkinopoulou, Nandia Kontogeorgi, Hara Kotsali, Christina Maxouri, Giorgos Nikopoulos, Alexandros Psihramis, Kalliopi Simou, Fotis Siotas, Aliki Siousti, Christos Thanos, Savina Yannatou, Fanis Zachopoulos, Nikos Ziaziaris
With the participation of a nine-piece music ensemble

Andrei: A Requiem in Eight Scenes, a work by Dimitra Trypani, is a singular, contemporary funeral liturgy for the great filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The libretto, written by Pantelis Boukalas, enters into dialogue with the German text of the Lutheran Requiem Mass, and with fragments of dialogue drawn from the seven feature films made by the Russian artist.
The work is classified as a “sound performance” as, according to the composer Dimitra Trypani, it is sound –namely, text and music strictly interconnected through the score– that serves as the overarching narrative mode. Within Trypani’s composition, major roles are played by chromatic heterophonic and polyphonic structures, polystylistic approaches, and body percussion. Additionally, the incorporated polyglottal elements and film dialogue snippets are inserted into the overall liturgical text by means of collage techniques.
Commissioned by the Greek National Opera, the work is articulated in eight parts: an introductory scene followed by another seven that correspond to the seven sections of the German Requiem Mass text and, moreover, to the seven feature films Tarkovsky made during the course of his short life.
Nineteen acclaimed actors, dancers, and musicians will perform an equal number of on-stage Andrei variants, real-life persons, or key imaginary characters drawn from his seven films. As the artist herself notes: “The entire work is a Tarkovskian dream, since the real and unreal are interwoven through the music of the requiem that inundates the space.”
The composer Dimitra Trypani is engaged in the creation of interdisciplinary music performances, using strictly structured polyrhythmic forms and heterophonic patterns as her main media in her approach to both music and speech. She has worked with numerous renowned orchestras, ensembles, and soloists, both in Greece and beyond. She is an associate professor in Music Theory and Composition with Interdisciplinary Practices at the Ionian University’s Department of Music.

Concerts • Mikis Theodorakis tribute cycle
Symphony No. 2: The Song of the Earth

2 October 2022
Starts at: 18.30
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Elias Voudouris
Soloist: Titos Gouvelis
Children’s chorus mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou
With the GNO Orchestra and Children’s Chorus


March of the Spirit and Songs by Mikis Theodorakis

5 October 2022
Starts at: 19.30
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Stathis Soulis
Orchestration: Yannis Belonis, Yannis Samprovalakis, Alexandros Livitsanos
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Soloists: Maria Farantouri, Tassos Apostolou, Thodoris Voutsikakis
With the GNO Orchestra and Chorus

The Mikis Theodorakis tribute cycle continues as part of our 2022/23 season, launching this year with two major concerts featuring the GNO Orchestra and celebrated soloists.
In the first concert, to be held on 2 October 2022 at the Stavros Niarchos Hall, the GNO Orchestra and Children’s Chorus –conducted by Elias Voudouris– will be performing Symphony No. 2: The Song of the Earth, a work that marked Mikis Theodorakis’ return to more highbrow music, back in 1980. For the creation of this particular symphony, Theodorakis drew source material from two works written during his 1954-1960 period: Suite No. 1 (1957), and the ballet Antigone (1957-58). In the work’s third part, the Children’s Chorus perform The Song of the Earth (with lyrics by Giannis Theodorakis), a short poetic piece that incorporates portions of the composer’s traumatic experiences of war, exile, and persecution.
On 5 October 2022, the legendary singer Maria Farantouri will perform March of the Spirit with GNO bass soloist Tassos Apostolou, and a selection of songs by Mikis Theodorakis with Thodoris Voutsikakis, all conducted by Stathis Soulis and with the participation of the GNO Orchestra and Chorus. Coming after the Axion Esti, March of the Spirit is Theodorakis’ second laïkó (“popular” –as in, of the people– or “folk”) oratorio, composed back in 1969 in the village of Zatouna in Arcadia, where he had been banished and placed under house arrest by the Greek dictatorship of the time. Championing melodic simplicity and the use of folk instruments, and based on a patriotic poem by Angelos Sikelianos, the piece sought to send a clear message of opposition to the regime. The second part of the concert will see the performance of a series of Theodorakis’ most popular songs, orchestrated to be played by a large symphony orchestra – everything from “Streets of old”, “The Song of Songs” and “The laughing lad” to “Marina”, “The beautiful city” and “Dawn is breaking”.

With the kind support of My Market

Don Giovanni • New production
W. A. Mozart

21, 23, 25, 27, 29 October 2022
Starts at: 19.30
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
In co-production with the Göteborg Opera (Sweden) and the Royal Danish Opera

Conductor: Ondrej Olos
Director: John Fulljames
Revival director: Aylin Bozok
Sets: Dick Bird • Costumes: Annemarie Woods
Choreography: Maxine Braham
Lighting: Fabiana Piccioli • Lighting revival: Neill Brinkworth
Video design: Will Duke
Video programming: Dan Trenchard
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Lead cast: Dionysios Sourbis, Vassilis Kavayas, Petros Magoulas, Cellia Costea, Yanni Yannissis, Nikos Kotenidis, and others
With the Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

This international Greek National Opera co-production with the Göteborg Opera and Royal Danish Opera was filmed inside the Stavros Niarchos Hall in December 2021, without an audience, to premiere on the Greek National Opera’s online television channel (GNO TV). Following its Copenhagen presentation at the Royal Danish Opera, Don Giovanni is returning to Athens for its Hellenic premiere –before a live audience this time– at the Greek National Opera. The production is directed by the acclaimed director and Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera, John Fulljames. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
In Don Giovanni –a seminal work in the opera repertoire– Mozart imbued his music with every possible perspective on the path followed by a man who decides to defy God and take his fate firmly into his own hands. The plot tackles the sexual escapades of the rakish Spanish nobleman Don Giovanni. It is on one of these misadventures that he attempts to rape Donna Anna. While making his escape, he kills her father, who returns from the dead to take his revenge. Utterly unrepentant in the face of everything he has done, Don Giovanni is led down into hell.
Fulljames sets the action in a modern-day hotel – a city in microcosm, and a temporary meeting place where what’s private is made public, and your stay is strictly limited. The director notes: “Don Giovanni is an enduring opera because it has so many aspects; there is broad humour and great theatrical set pieces, all in a dark thriller about a seducer who must be stopped. It is about how we live together in society and, as ever with opera, about how we face death. The climax is the long-awaited death of Don Giovanni himself as he chooses death, hell even, over denying who he is. His death is an expression of order reasserting itself over the unrestrained liberty he represents.

Production sponsor: Alpha Bank

Opera for all the family
The Magic Pillows • Revival
George Dousis / Eugene Trivizas

11, 12, 13, 20, 30 November & 1 December 2022
Matinée performances at 11.00 / Evening performances at 18.30
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Nicolas Vassiliou
Director: Natasha Triantafylli
Sets: Tina Tzoka • Costumes: Ioanna Tsami
Movement director: Dimitra Mitropoulou • Lighting: Giorgos Tellos
Children’s chorus mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou
Lead cast: the soloists Nicolas Maraziotis, Nikos Kotenidis, Dionisios Melogiannidis, Vangelis Maniatis, George Mattheakakis, Kostis Rassidakis, Yannis Kavouras, and members of the GNO Children’s Chorus
With a small orchestral and choral ensemble, and with the participation of the GNO Children’s Chorus (as part of its educational mission)

 No matter what they take from you / there always still will be / something they can never touch / something yours to keep! / In times of woe and sorrow / your dreams shall ever be / a pot of gold, a hope to hold / your place of sanctuary!
The Magic Pillows –the hugely popular opera production for all the family– is returning to the Stavros Niarchos Hall to inject life into the dreams of young and old alike once more. This well-known work by Eugene Trivizas, which met with great success both as a novel (translated into many other languages, and the winner of numerous awards) and as a theatre play, was adapted by the author himself to debut as an opera for all the family, with music by George Dousis. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
This hopeful, moving, and meaningful fairy tale by Trivizas tells the story of some children at an unloved school and their inspiring teacher, who together take a stand against the greedy King Glorious the Omnificent, quite determined to reclaim their lost dreams.
The emotionally rich and melodious music of George Dousis winningly winds its way around breath-taking palace halls, neglected classrooms, and gloomy emerald mines, breathing life into this spirited band of characters. Meanwhile, the fast-paced, funny, and emotion-filled staging by Natasha Triantafylli goes straight to the poetic heart of this redemptive and limitlessly rich classic tale. As the director herself notes: “The Magic Pillows is a story that shows us anew what stuff we are made of – courage and high spirits and zest for life. Stuff that sits, secret and eternal, deep inside us and can never be wiped out by the injustices of the world. Stuff that makes you gaze up at the sky and realise you are great, no matter how small! Such stuff as dreams are made on!

Don Quixote • New production
Thiago Bordin, Marius Petipa / Ludwig Minkus

26, 27 November & 4, 23, 24, 30, 31 December 2022
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday & 31/12 at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Choreography: Thiago Bordin, based on the original choreography by Marius Petipa
Conductor: Stathis Soulis
Sets: George Souglides
Costumes: Mary Katrantzou
Lighting: Christos Tziogkas
Animation: Eirini Vianelli
With the Orchestra, Principal Dancers, Soloists, Demi-Soloists, and Corps de ballet of the Greek National Opera

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 Greek National Opera’s Stavros Niarchos Hall 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. 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.
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.

Production sponsor: Eurobank

Les Contes d’HoffmannNew production
Jacques Offenbach

18, 20, 22, 28, 29 December 2022 & 4, 5, 8 January 2023
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
In co-production with La Monnaie (Brussels)

Conductor: Lukas Karytinos
Director: Krzysztof Warlikowski
Sets, costumes: Małgorzata Szczęśniak
Lighting: Felice Ross • Video design: Denis Guéguin
Choreography: Claude Bardouil • Dramaturgy: Christian Longchamp
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Lead cast: Adam Smith, Yannis Christopoulos, Nicole Chevalier, Vassiliki Karayanni, Michèle Lozier, Marisia Papalexiou, Tassos Apostolou, Petros Magoulas, Christophoros Stamboglis, Yanni Yannissis, Christos Kechris, Yannis Kalyvas, and others
With the Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

Les Contes d’Hoffman is the highly anticipated new Greek National Opera co-production with La Monnaie in Brussels, ingeniously directed by Europe’s leading opera and theatre director Krzysztof Warlikowski, who takes on the challenge of revealing the essence of a work in which time and space are merely the remnants of a crumbled mosaic. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
A dramatic work of opera filled with a series of superb melodies, including its hugely famous barcarolle, Les Contes d’Hoffman has endured right through to the present day as one of the most popular of all French operas, standing tall alongside Carmen, Faust, and Manon. The libretto by Jules Barbier is based on stories written by the multi-talented E.T.A. Hoffman, whom Barbier made the opera’s protagonist. Three female figures –the soulless automaton Olympia, the critically ill singer Antonia, and the courtesan Giulietta– each display certain characteristics that together make up the prima donna Stella, the woman Hoffman has fallen for. The love he feels for each of them is wrecked in each instance by an older man –three separate personas: Coppélius, Dr Miracle, and Dapertutto– whose various characteristics are evinced in composite by the wealthy Lindorf, with whom Stella departs at the opera’s end, leaving Hoffman in despair. Jacques Offenbach passed away shortly prior to completing the opera, which proved to be his last. With its score completed by the composer Ernest Guiraud, the work met with enormous success. There have followed numerous painstaking attempts to reconstruct Offenbach’s score over many years, as new sections from the composer’s manuscripts containing valuable musical material continue to be discovered in various places, even in recent times. The GNO is presenting the opera as it appears in the most recent critical edition of the work, prepared by Michael Kaye and Jean-Christophe Keck.
Warlikowski’s staging is driven by the fact that Les Contes d’Hoffman has a particularly complex narrative, and by the realisation that both score and libretto are without stable structure. These elements provide the director, and audiences, with the sense that the work is open to reinterpretation and redefinition. In an evolution of his signature directorial style, Warlikowski peers at the story of this opera through the prism of the seventh art, drawing inspiration from such cinematic works as A Star Is Born, The Shining, and Inland Empire. The emancipation of an enigmatic and complex woman, the disappointments of an author in crisis, the addictions and subjective delusions – everything here offers itself up for the metatextual exploration of the mysterious interplay between story and storyteller, artist and artwork.

Production sponsors: Mytilineos – Eurobank

Falstaff New production
Giuseppe Verdi

26, 29 January & 1, 4, 7, 10 February 2023 • Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Langridge
Sets, costumes: George Souglides
Movement director: Dan O’Neill • Lighting: Peter Mumford
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Children’s chorus mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou
Lead cast: Dimitri Platanias, Tassis Christoyannis, Vassilis Kavayas, Cellia Costea, Anna Agathonos, and others
With the Orchestra, Chorus, Children’s Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

The GNO presents a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi and directed by the acclaimed director, and Artistic Director of the UK’s renowned Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Stephen Langridge. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
Verdi surprised everyone with his final opera, Falstaff, as not many believed the then 80-year-old composer had another major work in him (and a comedy at that!) following the huge success of his Otello (1887). And yet Falstaff, first presented at La Scala in Milan on 9 February 1893, proved a brilliant conclusion to his career as an opera composer. Following his adaptation of the plays Macbeth and Othello, Verdi turned to Shakespeare one final time and picked out a comedy: The Merry Wives of Windsor. Central to the action is the washed-up old knight Sir John Falstaff, whose romantic misadventures make him a laughingstock in the provincial society of his small town. In the end, after a series of tragicomic situations have unfolded, all the work’s characters sing the following refrain together: “All the world’s a jest… but whoever laughs last, laughs best.” The opera has justly been called a masterpiece of the genre for its expressive economy and concise form – for its composer’s ability to encapsulate entire characters and situations with a single musical phrase.
Stephen Langridge is returning to the GNO, following his successful staging of Carmen at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, to create this outgoing, light-hearted, and wonderfully entertaining new production. The director notes: “Falstaff is a comedy in the deepest sense – often farcical, but also offering a window into the hearts of the characters. At the centre of it all is Verdi and Shakespeare’s most loveable rogue: Falstaff himself. A liar, a cheat, a trickster; sensuous, vain, oldfashioned… We ought to disapprove, but we adore him in all his flawed humanity. Our production is set in England in the 1930s. A time between the wars (Falstaff was an old soldier), with a scandalous Prince of Wales (like Hal in Henry IV) who will briefly become King Edward VIII, and a time when the hierarchies are rigid, with social class more respected than money. Falstaff is based on Shakespeare’s only fully English comedy, but the end is pure Verdi / Boito. “Tutta nel mondo è burla” [all the world’s a jest] is their conclusion and when we look around us at today’s chaotic world we can only agree, and then perhaps head off to the pub for a pint of warm ale and a laugh with Sir John!

Production sponsor: Alpha Bank

3 ROOMS Revival

Dance triptych with choreographies by Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin and Konstantinos Rigos

Greek National Opera Ballet
15, 16, 18, 19 February 2023 • Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

The GNO ballet is reprising its hugely successful production 3 ROOMS, in which GNO Ballet Director Konstantinos Rigos enters into creative discourse on contemporary movement vocabularies with two of the dance world’s leading lights – the great Czech choregrapher Jiří Kylián and the internationally acclaimed Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
The Pedal Tone for a Child, a new choreography by Konstantinos Rigos set to music by GNO Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis, here encounters Jiří Kylián’s iconic Petite mort and Ohad Naharin’s celebrated Minus 16 in what is an opportunity for the dancers of the GNO Ballet to pit themselves against the particular performative challenges of these three works. Joining the dancers of the GNO Ballet on stage for the choreography by Rigos are student performers drawn from the GNO Professional Dance School and the Greek National School of Dance (KSOT).


> The Pedal Tone for a Child

Choreography, set: Konstantinos Rigos
Music: Giorgos Koumendakis
Costumes: Giorgos Segredakis • Associate architect: Mary Tsagari
Lighting: Eleftheria Deko

GNO Ballet Director Konstantinos Rigos presents a new choreography for a piece by Giorgos Koumendakis, The Pedal Tone for a Child. The work, inspired by Byzantine music, concerns itself with discovering a world of nature and of tradition. This choreography by Rigos transports us into a dystopian and forsaken black-and-white world where an abandoned advertising billboard stands like a scarecrow on the far horizon.


> Petite mort

Choreography, sets and light designs: Jiří Kylián
Music: W. A. Mozart
Costumes: Joke Visser

The great Jiří Kylián, who served as Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater from 1975 to 1999, first presented this choreography in Salzburg to mark the bicentennial of Mozart’s death, setting the work to slow movements taken from two of Mozart’s most popular Piano Concertos – Nos. 21 and 23.


> Minus 16

Choreography, costumes: Ohad Naharin
Lighting: Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi)

Using music that ranges from Dean Martin to mambo, and from techno to traditional Israeli melodies, the current House Choreographer and former Artistic Director (1990 to 2019) of the renowned Batsheva Dance Company, Ohad Naharin, created Minus 16, a piece that eliminates the barrier between its dancers and the audience in unique and unpredictable ways.

Opera double bill
Bluebeard’s Castle – Béla Bartók &
Gianni Schicchi – Giacomo Puccini

9, 12, 19, 24 March 2023
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Vassilis Christopoulos
With the Orchestra and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

 The Greek National Opera presents an anthology piece comprising two magnificent one-act operas: one dramatic – Bluebeard’s Castle in a new staging by Themelis Glynatsis; the other comic – Gianni Schicchi directed by John Fulljames. Two works that both premiered in the same year (1918), in Budapest and New York respectively. The evening opens with Bartók’s brooding and bloody masterpiece, and closes with Puccini’s dark comedy – a light-hearted farce considered the most radiant and joyous work in the composer’s oeuvre. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.


Bluebeard’s Castle – Béla Bartók • New production

Director: Themelis Glynatsis
Sets, costumes: Leslie Travers
Lighting: Stella Kaltsou
Projection design: Marios Gampierakis, Chrysoula Korovesi
Sound design: Tasos Tsigkas
Soloists: Tassos Apostolou, Violetta Lousta

 Bluebeard’s Castle by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók is based on the folktale La Barbe bleue by Charles Perrault, published in 1697. A rare work of crisp concision, Bartók’s opera boasts just two characters – Bluebeard and his most recent wife, Judith. Wishing to learn more about her husband’s past, Judith opens the seven doors inside Bluebeard’s castle, one after the other. Behind each she finds a different world, untold riches, the glory and heroism of her husband – but also pain, tears, and blood. The symbolist text written by Béla Balázs gave Bartók the opportunity to compose one of his most impressive scores, one that makes full use of the timbres offered up by an exceptionally large orchestra –including even the imposing tones of a church organ– to delineate each of the work’s images with incredible power.
The work’s director, Themelis Glynatsis, notes: “The Bluebeard folktale, one of the bloodiest stories in the Western canon, tells of an aristocrat who marries young women only to murder them when they defy his command forbidding them to explore his castle. Bartók transforms the Bluebeard story into a contemporary operatic thriller, one deeply mystical, suffused with symbolism, and marked by an uncommon psychological lucidity and emotional intensity. Bluebeard’s Castle, the only opera the Hungarian composer ever wrote, is seen as one of the most important operatic works of the 20th century due to its ground-breaking music and dramaturgical approach. The work functions as a symbolist anatomy of a human relationship, and as a descent into the labyrinthine psyche that lies hidden inside the mysterious blue-bearded duke. This production takes a conscious step away from the serial killer lore that usually trails the work to focus instead on a man and a woman on their wedding night, sinking gradually ever deeper into a universe consisting of multiple realities and psychological trauma, repressed memories and unfamiliar spaces.

Gianni Schicchi – Giacomo Puccini • Revival

Director: John Fulljames
Sets, costumes: Richard Hudson
In the title role: Dionysios Sourbis

The second part of this double bill –a polar opposite to the evening’s first work– brings a dark, borderline grotesque comedy to the stage.
Known mainly for his intensely emotional melodramas La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini astounded one and all with how successfully he tackled a comic theme in Gianni Schicchi.
The libretto by Giovacchino Forzano is based on an episode that appears in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Following the death of a rich man, the wily Gianni Schicchi helps the relatives of the departed –and himself above all, of course– to pocket his substantial estate.
The similarities between Gianni Schicchi and the equally comic Falstaff are obvious but, in contrast to Verdi, Puccini does not portray specific, individualised characters with his music but rather –in the manner of the commedia dell’arte tradition– renders stock character types.
On its first presentation in Rome, in 1919, the work was considered the composer’s most sparkling and, as such, considerably welcome in the bleak moments following the First World War.
With incredible expressive economy and only the most essential of musical strokes, Puccini creates portraits capturing each of the many relatives, and naturally the protagonist too. The opera is also famous for its short aria “O mio babbino caro” (“O my dear papa”), which Maria Callas regularly performed separately at her recitals.
The GNO is reviving one of its most popular productions, directed by John Fulljames, that was programmed by its then Artistic Director Stefanos Lazaridis to premiere during the 2007/08 season at the Olympia Theatre.

Werther Revival
Jules Massenet

23, 26, 28, 31 March & 2, 4 April 2023
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC

Conductor: Jacques Lacombe
Director: Spyros Evangelatos
Sets, costumes: Giorgos Patsas
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Children’s chorus mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou
In the role of Werther: Francesco Demuro
Debuting in the role of Charlotte: Anita Rachvelishvili
With the Orchestra, Children’s Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

 The sensational Werther by Jules Massenet –one of the most popular operas in the French repertoire– is returning to the Greek National Opera, conducted by Jacques Lacombe and directed by Spyros Evangelatos. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
This production of Werther, first presented in 2014 at the Olympia Theatre, was the last opera to be directed by Spyros Evangelatos, a legendary figure in Greece’s theatre and opera scenes, and boasts sets and costumes by Giorgos Patsas. Spyros Evangelatos served as the GNO’s Artistic Director and Chair of the Board for many years and, alongside his extensive work in the theatre, directed a series of famous operas by Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Rossini, Mozart, Britten, and others to great success.
This opera, written around a century after the epistolary novel by Goethe upon which it is based, tells the story of a doomed love affair between the young Werther and Charlotte. Once Werther realises there is no hope for their love, he takes his own life. Charlotte, who has realised the urgency of the situation, rushes to be by his side, reaching him a little before he breathes his last.
Just like Goethe’s Faust (which in opera form became best known in the version by Gounod), so too did Werther win over the opera world, set to music by Jules Massenet, the great French composer. Massenet’s opera –which skilfully captures both the poetic nature of the idealistic Werther and the prisoner to social convention that was Charlotte– enjoyed huge success in its own day; translated into numerous languages, the work would go on to influence everything from the mores to the fashions of its time. This operatic Werther follows the beat of its own drum, departing from the original text in crucial ways. While it retains the theme of challenging social hierarchies and received convention, it dispenses in large part with the work’s philosophical musings. The fate of Goethe’s hero inspired the French composer to pen a score of immense lyricism and remarkable sensitivity that does not lack for powerful dramatic outbursts.
This GNO production of Werther shall see the highly anticipated debut of leading mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili in the role of Charlotte. Performing the title role is Francesco Demuro, who thrilled audiences in the GNO’s recent production of Rigoletto at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Concert • Mikis Theodorakis tribute cycle
Mikis Theodorakis: Tracing His Footsteps through Time

30 March 2023
Starts at: 19.30
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
With the participation of the Pallini Music High School’s music ensembles

The Pallini Music High School, in production partnership with the Greek National Opera, presents a concert performance featuring its music ensembles inside the Stavros Niarchos Hall – an evening dedicated to the life and work of the great Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
The school’s students will be taking us on a journey down the paths he roved in life, and down the ones he opened up as a composer. The school’s music ensembles will be spotlighting as many aspects of Theodorakis’ broad musical output as possible, and foregrounding the varied relationships between his work and both the Greek musical tradition and Greek poetry.
The chamber orchestra, philharmonic orchestra, and chorus of the Pallini Music High School will be leading audiences on a journey down éntekhno (Greek art music) roads and symphonic avenues forged by Theodorakis. The school’s laïkó (Greek folk) orchestra will roam some of his best-known songs and melodies. And traditional musicians shall marry the Byzantine East with the literary West.
The Pallini Music High School, founded in 1988, was the first such state music school in Greece. In addition to its regular curriculum, the school has introduced a number of annual music and educational events held at the school itself and at other venues, in partnership with a range of institutions that include the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Goethe-Institut Athen, L’Institut français de Grèce, Onassis Stegi, Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Pallas Theatre.

Médée • New production
Luigi Cherubini

25, 28, 30 April & 3, 9, 14 May 2023
Starts at: 19.30 (Sunday at: 18.30)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
In co-production with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago

Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Director, sets: David McVicar
Costumes: Doey Lüthi
Lighting: Paule Constable
Projection design: S. Katy Tucker
Movement director: Jo Meredith
Debuting in the title role: Anna Pirozzi
With the Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

Cherubini’s Médée is the Greek National Opera’s first major co-production with three leading North American opera houses: the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The production, staged by the celebrated opera director David McVicar, will open the Met’s 2022/23 season before being presented at the Stavros Niarchos Hall in April-May 2023 and going on to be performed in Montreal and Chicago. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
Overlooked for many decades, Italian composer Luigi Cherubini’s Médée –first presented in Paris in 1797– was brought back into the limelight when Maria Callas first performed the title role in 1953 at the Florence May Festival. The revival met with great success and, thanks to Callas’ extraordinary musical and acting abilities, the music world rediscovered a thrilling work so unfairly forgotten. The Greek diva went on to perform the role of Médée on numerous other stages, culminating in her historic 1961 appearance with the Greek National Opera at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, directed by Alexis Minotis and with sets and costumes by Yannis Tsarouchis.
Cherubini, who spent most of his adult life in Paris and made decisive contributions to France’s music scene, wrote the opera on the basis of a French libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman, with spoken dialogue (prose) set between the musical segments (arias, duets, choral sections, and so on). The text went on to be translated into Italian by Carlo Zangarini, with the dialogue set to music by the German composer Franz Paul Lachner. This was the version revived by Callas, and is the one being presented here by the GNO.
This rarely performed masterpiece by Cherubini, with a libretto based on Euripides’ Medea, is to be presented in a monumental new production –classic and atmospheric, contemporary but for the ages– directed and with sets by David McVicar, one of the great British stage directors. Costumes are by Doey Lüthi and lighting is by Paule Constable, with projection design by S. Katy Tucker and movement direction by Jo Meredith.
Debuting in the exceptionally demanding title role is a leading soprano of our times, the internationally acclaimed Anna Pirozzi.

Production sponsor: Piraeus Bank

Madama Butterfly • New production
Giacomo Puccini

1, 4, 7, 10 June 2023
Starts at: 21.00
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
As part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival

Conductor: Vassilis Christopoulos
Director: Olivier Py
Sets, costumes: Pierre-André Weitz
Lighting: Bertrand Killy
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
With the Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

 Following the huge success of his Wozzeck, the leading French director and Director of the Festival d’Avignon Olivier Py is returning to the Greek National Opera, this time to stage one of Puccini’s most popular masterpieces, Madama Butterfly, at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
The much sought-after stage director and performer Olivier Py, who has put on more than forty works of opera around the world, will be tackling Madama Butterfly for the first time, placing the orchestra up on stage inside the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and filling the Roman outdoor venue with the aesthetics and colours of Japan, as filtered through his own signature directorial style. Working with him to create the sets and costumes is his long-time collaborator Pierre-André Weitz.
Giacomo Puccini’s “Japanese tragedy”, first presented at La Scala in Milan in 1904, tells the story of the star-crossed love harboured by the fifteen-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-San for Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
An American officer acquired the services of the young geisha Miss Butterfly at an expense of 39 dollars per month. Four dollars of this bought the license that entitled her to be his mistress, and to a daily bath in the public bathhouse. He paid her 25 dollars a month and hired a room and a servant for her, which cost another ten dollars. For this sum, he enjoyed all the comforts of a married man for a set time, and she had a roof over her head and a servant at her command. On leaving for America, he promised he would return to her when the robins nest again but in fact deserted her, leaving her desperately poor, with babe in arms. The author John Luther Long was inspired by this account of a real-life young geisha called Cio-Cio-San –recounted to him by his sister, who had lived in Nagasaki– to start writing his own short story of the tale, which formed the basis for a theatre play and, subsequently, Puccini’s opera.
Madama Butterfly never strays from the principles of verismo, with its intense clashes and love of theatrical flourishes. In this vein, the score carefully selects how best to embellish each and every moment. Orchestral influences drawn from the musical universes of Debussy and Ravel, singular elements taken from the Japanese musical tradition, striking escalations, chamber music aspects, and eruptions featuring the entire orchestra charge the opera with its particular pulsating exuberance, its unique vivacity.

Production sponsors: Eurobank – Mytilineos

Opera for all the family
Le voyage dans la Lune • New production
Jacques Offenbach

12, 13 July 2023
Starts at: 19.30 

Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera – SNFCC
In co-production with the Opéra Comique (Paris)

Conductor: Elias Voudouris
Director, costumes: Laurent Pelly
Libretto adaptation and new version of the dialogue: Agathe Mélinand
Sets: Barbara de Limburg
Lighting: Joël Adam
Children’s chorus mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou

The Greek National Opera’s strategic partnership with one of the most important and historic opera houses in Europe, the Opéra Comique in Paris, is launching with an adaptation of Offenbach’s Le voyage dans la Lune, staged and with costumes by the acclaimed French director Laurent Pelly, and featuring the children’s and youth choruses of both institutions. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.
Director Laurent Pelly and dramaturg Agathe Mélinand adapted this exquisite work with an inventiveness and collective spirit that’s sure to impress young and old alike.
Le Voyage dans la Lune is a four-act opéra-féérie by Jacques Offenbach, with a libretto by Albert Vanloo, Eugène Leterrier, and Arnold Mortier based loosely on the Jules Verne novels From the Earth to the Moon and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
The work was written in the wake of the success enjoyed by the novels of Jules Verne. Combining fantastical elements with the scientific achievements of the time, the production invested heavily in phantasmagoria and grand spectacle elements. These included two ballet troupes, as well as 20 painted backdrops and 673 costumes designed specially for the purposes of the production. Audiences were also treated to the sight of a cannon on stage, which shot the characters to the Moon, not to mention a volcanic eruption and a rendition of the Paris Observatory’s main hall.
When first presented in 1875, the production was such a sensation that no less than seven different variety performances in the French capital referenced it directly in the season that followed. In 1876, Le voyage dans la Lune was presented in London and Vienna; meanwhile, its Paris run ended after a total of 185 performances, only for the show to open again on a new stage before the year was out!
In this new adaptation of the work, the complex scenic demands made by the libretto give way to the imagination, while the libretto, music, and staging create a dream-like world for the young performers of the Children’s and Youth Choruses of the GNO and Opéra Comique. Brought together inside a giant playground are the inhabitants of the Earth and Moon –children dressed like grown-ups to play kings and laypeople, astronomers and princes and government ministers, but also children there to protest– fighting for the climate and for an Earth that’s drowning under rubbish dumps.

Nabucco • Revival
Giuseppe Verdi

26, 27, 29, 30 July 2023
Starts at: 21.00
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
As part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival

Conductor: Paolo Carignani
Director: Leo Muscato
Sets: Tiziano Santi
Costumes: Silvia Aymonino
Lighting: Alessandro Verazzi
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
In the title role: Dimitri Platanias and Tassis Christoyannis
With the Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists of the Greek National Opera

A popular production of Nabucco created in 2018 is being revived for four performances at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in 2023, conducted by Paolo Carignani and directed by Leo Muscato. Nabucco is considered one of Giuseppe Verdi’s greatest operas. The work sealed his place as the most important Italian composer of the 19th century, and itself became a symbol in the struggle for the unification of Italy. While Verdi was not the first composer to set texts of an intensely political nature to music, Italy’s greatest composer nevertheless made all the difference thanks to his musical genius; this is what gives his operas such a clear political tenor, imbuing them with the power to move the masses.
The plot concerns the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites imposed by King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco). When he, in a display of arrogance, demands they all worship him as their god, lightning strikes him down. Once Nabucco recognises Jehovah as the one true God, he comes back to his senses, releasing the Israelites and giving his blessing for the union of his true daughter Fenena with Ismaele, the King of Jerusalem’s nephew. Abigaille, who usurped the throne of Nabucco, also turns to Jehovah by the end.
Leo Muscato, who staged this production, is among the most dynamic, up-and-coming opera directors working in Italy today. He has proven himself tackling works by Verdi and Puccini, and has presented hugely successful productions at leading Italian opera houses (in Rome, Venice, Florence, Torino, and elsewhere). The director notes that, in his production of Nabucco, “there is no desire to conform to historical accuracy: the aesthetic identity of the settings and costumes aims at rendering an abstract place and time, so that attention is focused on the essence,” before going on to say that “the tragedy of deported and enslaved Jews reminds us on the one hand of the Nazi concentration camps’ tragedy, and on the other hand, it seems a lot like the torture systems adopted at contemporary detention camps, such as those of Guantanamo.
The production is conducted by the Italian Paolo Carignani, one of the most important opera maestros in the world; Nabucco marks his first collaboration with the GNO.

Here you can see the trailer of the new GNO season 2022/2023.

Tickets for the September–December 2022 productions go on sale 29 July 2022, and can be bought from the GNO Box Office and online via

photo credits: Stefan Brion/Opéra Comique (Le voyage dans la lune), Valeria Isaeva (The Magic Pillows), Stefanos Kyriakopoulos (Gianni Schicchi), Dimitris Sakalakis (Nabucco), Andreas Simopoulos (3 Rooms, Don Quixote, Don Giovanni), Marilena Stafylidou (Werther), Bernd Uhlig (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Yiorgis Yerolymbos (SNFCC)
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