The Greek National Opera’s 2022-2023 season, curated by Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis, will open with a newly commissioned opera, Andrei, by Greek composer Dimitra Trypani. Trypani describes the work as a “sound performance” and “sound storytelling,” unfolding across eight stages to create a contemporary funeral liturgy for famed Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986). The libretto, written by the eminent Greek poet and journalist Pantelis Boukalas, uses the German text of the Lutheran Requiem Mass in dialogue with fragments taken from Tarkovsky’s seven feature films.
Andrei will premiere in the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens on Sunday September 25 at 6:30 p.m., followed by two subsequent performances on Tuesday September 27 and Wednesday September 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available now from at the GNO Box Office and online via ticketservices.gr/en. The 2022-23 season, which runs from September 2022 to July 2023, is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to strengthen the artistic influence of the GNO.
Commissioned by the GNO, Andrei is presented in eight parts: an introductory scene followed by seven others corresponding to the seven sections of the German text of the Mass of Requiem, and the seven feature films by Tarkovsky. Eighteen actors, dancers and musicians play different versions of Tarkovsky, as well as non-fictional characters and key characters from his films. Trypani notes, “The whole work is a Tarkovskian dream, since the real and the unreal are intertwined through the requiem music that floods the space.”
Trypani first encountered Tarkovsky’s films some fifteen years ago while studying composition in Edinburgh, when a friend encouraged her to watch his 1972 film Solaris. She recalls: “It was like a blast for me for a variety of reasons. First, it answered questions that were vital to me; questions about our species, about who we are as humans, about civilization , and also about love and faith, not faith in terms of religion, but spirituality and the ways in which humans seek ways to fulfill hope.I was struck by the poetry with which his films ask these questions but also by the fact that they give you an answer.
“Secondly, music and sound are my main area of experience and the way Tarkovsky uses sound in his films almost shocked me. It’s almost as if it were another character, d another actor in his films. The way he uses rain, water, and other elements like air to conjure up images and feelings – you hardly need anything else. In fact, I use his films as examples when I teach composition. Cinema is such a precise art and his films are very rhythmic. An edit in a Tarkovsky film is like a score. It was interesting for me to explore and study its rhythmic sequences scene by scene.”
Trypani says the result is that Andrei is a performance that relies on sound rather than imagery or movement. Sound serves as the primary narrative mode, with major ‘roles’ played by vocal chromatic heterophonic and polyphonic structures, and polystylistic approaches combined with body percussion. Trypani will conduct the work, which includes a musical ensemble of nine musicians.
Besides Trypani and Boukalas, the creative team includes Elena Stavropoulou (sets), Nikos Kokkalis (costumes), Ermira Goro (choreography), Valentina Tamiolaki (lighting) and Konstantinos Bokos (sound design). The eighteen performers are: Iro Bezou, Irini Bilini-Moraiti, 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 and Nikos Ziaziaris.
Based in Athens, Trypani is committed to creating interdisciplinary musical performance, using strictly structured polyrhythmic forms and heterophonic patterns in her approach to music composition and speech. She has worked with many renowned orchestras, ensembles and soloists, in Greece and beyond. She is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition with Interdisciplinary Practices in the Music Department of Ionian University. She has previously composed works for the GNO’s Alternative Stage and Learning and Participation programs, including a performance of THE TALISMAAAAAAAAAAAAN, the culmination of a nine-month educational program involving approximately 200 elementary students from thirteen schools. Andrei is her first commission for the opera house’s main stage, Stavros Niarchos Hall, and the first GNO work commissioned from a female composer for this space.
GNO Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis said: “In the wake of some 90 works commissioned in recent years from Greek composers for our two stages and for our online festivals, this year sees yet another original production staged. inside the room Stavros Niarchos: Andrei, an ambitious new work by Dimitra Trypani, to a libretto by Pantelis Boukalas, about the singular filmmaker that was Andrei Tarkovsky.”
A Requiem in eight scenes
September 25, 27, 28, 2022
Start at: 7:30 p.m. (Sunday at 6:30 p.m.)
Stavros Niarchos Hall of the National Opera of Greece – SNFCC
Concept, composition, musical instruction, staging, conductor: Dimitra Trypani
Original libretto: Pantelis Boukalas
Sets: Elena Stavropoulou • Costumes: Nikos Kokkalis • Choreography: Ermira Goro • Lights: Valentina Tamiolaki • Sound design: Konstantinos Bokos
With (in alphabetical order): Iro Bezou, Irini Bilini-Moraiti, 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 and Nikos Ziaziaris.
With the participation of a musical ensemble of nine musicians
Tickets are available now at the GNO box office and online via ticketservices.gr/en
Ticket prices: 8€, 12€, 15€, 20€, 30€, 35€, 50€
Students, children: 8€
Seats with limited visibility: €5
GNO Main Donor
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)
ABOUT THE GREEK NATIONAL OPERA
Founded in 1939, the National Opera of Greece is a public body and the only opera house in Greece. It produces and stages opera, musical theatre, operetta and ballet, and multidisciplinary productions for its two stages at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), the Stavros Niarchos Hall and the Alternative Stage, as well as at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an open-air theater in central Athens. The company’s repertoire covers four centuries of opera, from the works of Claudio Monteverdi to those of contemporary composers. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera were both founded in 1939 alongside the Opera Company, then part of the Royal Theatre, and a Children’s Chorus was founded in 2012. of its opera programming, the GNO also encompasses the GNO Professional School of Dance, as well as educational and community programs for all age groups.
GNO’s vision is to be one of Europe’s most innovative opera houses with a unique artistic identity that engages global talent and inspires a wide and diverse audience. Directed by artistic director Giorgos Koumendakis and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org], its mission is to offer the public high caliber productions by presenting operas, ballets, operettas, children’s operas and music recitals, among other events. The main source of funding for the GNO is the Greek state and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. More than 60% of its annual budget is covered by public funds, with the rest coming from ticket revenue, private sponsorship and grants. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is the largest donor to the Greek National Opera and to date its grants to the GNO amount to €27.5 million.
A turning point in its history came in 2017 when the GNO moved to a new state-of-the-art building at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), which was designed, designed, built and equipped with a major grant from the Stavros Foundation. Niarchos (SNF). Upon completion, the SNFCC was delivered to the Greek state and the public in February 2017 through the SNF’s largest grant initiative to date, totaling €618 million. Aided by a €5 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the GNO moved from the Olympia Theater in Athens to the SFNCC and the two theaters specially designed by Renzo Piano, doubling its seating capacity to 1,400 seats in the opera hall and double its box office revenue.
The hall’s inaugural production in October 2017 was Strauss’ Elektra, starring acclaimed Greek mezzo Agnes Baltsa as Klytaemnestra. In 2019, a major grant of €20 million was announced by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to support the implementation of a four-year programming and development plan that will strengthen the GNO’s artistic outreach and increase promoting his work abroad. In the same year, the GNO celebrated its 80th anniversary, commissioning and presenting works to reintroduce itself to Greek and global audiences through its new artistic identity and mission. This program has included, among others: Verdi’s Don Carlo, a co-production of the Royal Opera House, London, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the Norwegian National Opera, Oslo, conducted by Sir Nicholas Hytner; Berg’s Wozzeck directed by Olivier Py; The 7 deaths of Marina Abramovic Maria Callas, a co-production with the Opéra national de Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Teatro di San Carlo; and Otello by Verdi, a co-production with the Festspiel Baden-Baden directed by Robert Wilson.
For more information, visit nationalopera.gr/en.