CULTURE

From the theater to the opera

Despite opting for a theater career and attending a drama school, young actor Tassos Apostolou decided not to give up his university studies and graduated with a degree in political sciences as well. He was also lucky in the sense that he collaborated with major theater figures from the beginning of his career, namely Minos Volanakis, Giorgos Lazanis, Mimis Kougioumtzis, Dimitris Mavrikios, Andreas Voutsinas and Niketi Kondouri among others. Apart from theater, he has also participated in films (by Angelopoulos, Xanthopoulos and Angelidis), and in some quality programs on Greek television. His additional gift of an excellent bass voice has helped him to acquire parts in demanding performances, namely Dimitris Papadimitriou’s «Midsummer Night’s Dream» for the National Theater or Brecht and Kurt Weil’s «Happy End,» produced by the Theatro Technis, to mention a few. All of a sudden, this gifted young actor gave everything up to study opera at Milan, after receiving the Onassis Foundation scholarship. His music studies had already started in Greece, at the side of the late baritone Frangiskos Voutsinos. He was also given piano lessons and taught music theory by Giorgos Kouroupos. Besides studying opera in Milan, Apostolou also attended acting classes by Piccolo Teatro’s well-known director Luca Ronconi, as well as singing and direction seminars. Apostolou recently acquired Milan’s most powerful agent and contacts have been made with the Athens Concert Hall and Greek National Opera, though he has already taken part in National Opera productions. Last summer, he sang alongside soprano Sonia Theodoridou in Kouroupos’s opera «Jocasta.» He also participated in Dimitris Papadimitriou’s «Cavafy Cycle,» presented at the Herod Atticus Theater in October and at the opening of the Alexandria Library in Egypt. Apostolou recently released a three-song CD. Preceding his first personal album, which will be available in the spring, the CD is called «Stin Idia Zoi» (In That Same Life), and contains songs by upcoming composer Thodoris Economou and lyrics by Paraskevas Karasoulos. The music from the «Cavafy Cycle» and «A Midsummer Night’s Dream» are expected to be released at a later date as well. «I am not just interested in opera, but in singing in general,» explains Apostolou. «My interest in opera stemmed from my passion for Greek songs, in fact for Hadjidakis’s music. If you know how to handle your voice, then you can render both kinds of music. I think it is possible for an opera singer to interpret Greek songs, as long as the singer abandons his operatic style, otherwise the result is ridiculous. I believe we have reached a balance with our songs.» Despite his plans in the music industry, Apostolou has no intention of abandoning the theater. «I have had 12 years of theater experience and I want to continue. Yet I have to be very selective, because I have seen that quality is necessary in all aspects of a theater production for the performance to be worthwhile.» Luckily, Apostolou does not depend on drama to make a living. «I earn my living mostly by giving speech and singing lessons,» he says. A combination of drama and music would be ideal for him, namely opera or musicals. For the time being, he refuses to choose one over the other. «I think I can perform equally well in both. I have not yet been forced to choose between the two, which is fortunate because and I find them both very attractive,» he says. He admits that if one is after different things all at once, one runs the risk of losing one’s concentration, yet he believes that this only applies to live performances. «One can perfectly well produce an album while performing on stage.» Thus is Tassos Apostolou starting his singing career.