The Greek National Opera premieres a new production of Verdi’s RIGOLETTO at the Epidaurus Festival in Athens
the Greek National Opera will present four performances of a new production of Rigoletto by Verdi as part of the Epidaurus Festival in Athens on June 2, 5, 8 and 11.
Performances will take place at the 4,680-seat Odeon of Herodes Atticus located at the foot of the Acropolis. The production is directed by the Festival’s artistic director, Katerina Evangelatos, and conducted by Lukas Karytinos, artistic director of the Athens State Orchestra. The all-Greek cast includes acclaimed soloists Dimitris Tiliakos, Christina Poulitsi, Dimitris Paksoglou, Petros Magoulas and Mary-Ellen Nesi. Tickets are available now at the GNO box office at the SNFCC and Athens Festival Box Officesand online via aefestival.gr and viva.gr. The production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to strengthen the artistic influence of the National Opera of Greece.
Rigoletto will be the second production that Ms. Evangelatos will conduct for the GNO, the first being contemporary opera Z by Greek composer Minas Borboudakis for the company’s alternative stage in 2018.
In this new production, Ms. Evangelatos applies her signature directing approach to shed light on Rigoletto’s dark and confrontational character and set the action within the corrupt society of an Italian backwater of the 1980s. She says:
“The cycle of violence depicted by Verdi in his Rigoletto is transferred here to a small autonomous world of the Italian provinces of the 1980s, where organized crime reigns supreme. Corruption, criminality, rape, this is the true face of what ‘is a pietistic, conservative and superstitious society.Eva Manidaki’s setting – a time-worn Italian country mansion that houses the brutality and darkness of the work’s characters – is seamlessly integrated into its physical setting of Odéon, while Alan Hranitelj’s costumes complete the picture of a society in steep decline.
Ms. Evangelatos is the third generation of artists in her family to collaborate with the GNO. Her father, Spyros Evangelatos, conducted around 30 operas for the company over a 40-year period and her grandfather, composer and conductor Antiochos Evangelatos, conducted performances of 40 works in over 100 new productions and revivals. during his 32 years with the company. His aunt, Daphne Evangelatos, also performed as a mezzo-soprano and soloist with the company.
Rigoletto is conducted by the famous maestro and artistic director of the Athens State Orchestra, Lukas Karytinos. The all-Greek cast is led by baritone Dimitris Tiliakos. Mr. Tiliakos has previously performed Rigoletto with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, the Semperoper Dresden and La Monnaie in Brussels of which Concerto.net wrote that he “…feels the nature of Rigoletto intimately. The character evokes empathy through the relevance and rigor of the incarnation of her voice…” Soprano Christina Poulitsi (Gilda), tenor Dimitris Paksoglou (Duke of Mantua), bass Petros Magoulas (Sparafucile), and mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi (Maddalena) complete the lead roles.
The Greek National Opera, founded in 1939, has a long tradition of presenting major summer productions at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus from 1941, when the city was still under German occupation. It has presented productions at the Epidaurus Festival in Athens since the inaugural festival in 1955.
Opera • Creation of a new production
June 2, 5, 8, 11, 2022 • Start at: 9 p.m.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
As a member of Athens Epidaurus Festival
Conductor: Lukas Karytinos
Director: Katerina Evangelatos
Sets: Eva Manidaki • Costumes: Alan Hranitelj
Choreographer / Movement Coach: Patricia Apergi • Lighting: Eleftheria Deko
Choirmaster: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Duke of Mantua: Dimitris Paksoglou
Rigoletto: Dimitris Tiliakos
Gilda: Christina Poulitsi
Sparafucile: Petros Magoulas
Maddalena: Mary-Ellen Nesi
With the participation of the Orchestra, Choir and Soloists of the GNO
From 1851, when the work made its Venice debut, until today, Rigoletto has been hailed as one of the most beloved operas of all time. With his Rigoletto, Verdi opens a new chapter in his career as a composer, presenting a work with its own identity but also more open to experimentation, with its sudden shifts between formal melody and dramatic recitative ensuring a smooth unfolding of the action. lightning speed. .
The story tells of Gilda, daughter of the hunchbacked court jester Rigoletto, and her love for the dissolute Duke of Mantua, who comes to her in the guise of a poor student. To get revenge on the duke who seduced his daughter, Rigoletto plots her murder. Upon discovering her father’s plans, Gilda decides to save her beloved by taking his place and sacrificing her own life.
This production is made possible thanks to a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to strengthen the artistic influence of the GNO.
Born in Athens into a famous family of artists, Katerina Evangelatos was appointed artistic director of the Athens Epidaurus Festival in September 2019.
She graduated with honors from the School of Drama of the National Theater of Greece and studied music at the Hellenic Conservatory. She holds an MA with Honors in Theater Directing from Middlesex University in London (as a Fellow of the Onassis Foundation). She continued her directing studies at GITIS (Russian Academy of Theater Arts) in Moscow. She speaks English, French and Russian. She is a member of the Studies Co. of the Moraitis School and sits on the Alexis Minotis Bequest in Memory of Katina Paxinou scholarship committee of the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece.
Evangelatos made her directorial debut in 2006 at the Experimental Stage of the National Theater of Greece with the performance Askisi Fantasias – Triti Entoli (Exercise in Imagination – Third Commandment). At that time she also founded and directed the Eisodos kindynou stage at the Spyros A. Evangelatos Amphitheater, where she presented three productions in their Greek debut (La Morte Amoureuse, The Suicide Club, The Spanish Tragedy).
In the following years, she directed more than 20 theater and opera productions in major cultural organizations in Greece and abroad, including the National Theater of Greece, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Onassis Cultural Foundation, National Opera of Greece, Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Cultural Center, the Perm Opera and Ballet Theater in Russia and the Augsburg State Theater in Germany.
Evangelatos is constantly active in teaching theater with a focus on ancient theater and has been invited to give theater courses and lectures in Greece (Department of Theater Studies of the University of Athens, School of theater of the National Theater of Greece, American College of Greece) and abroad (USA, Russia, Iran, to name a few). Recently, she was a guest lecturer at New York University where she taught ancient theater to students from various departments. In 2018 she directed the International Workshop of Ancient Theater of the National Theater of Greece in Delphi.
Founded in 1939, the Greek National Opera is a public body and the only opera house in Greece. It produces and directs operas, musical theatre, operettas and ballets, as well as multidisciplinary productions for its two stages in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), Stavros Niarchos Hall and Alternative Stage, as well as 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. Led 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 audience 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 includes, among others: Verdi’s Don Carlo, a co-production of the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera (New York) and the Norwegian National Opera (Oslo), directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner; Berg’s Wozzeck directed by Olivier Py; 7 Deaths of Maria Callas by Marina Abramović, a co-production with the Opéra national de Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Teatro di San Carlo; and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a co-production with the Gothenburg Opera (Sweden) and the Royal Danish Opera conducted by John Fulljames.
For more information, visit nationalopera.gr/en.