CULTURE

National Opera ready for the new season

For the 2003-2004 season, the National Opera will present a new stage, two commissioned works, an opera-thriller, repeats of much-loved compositions as well as a number of premieres. The National Opera, currently celebrating its 60-year anniversary, will also officially announce next month the establishment of a Higher School of Ballet, something it had been planning for many years. «This season is very special for us,» said Loukas Karytinos, artistic director of the National Opera, at a recent press conference and added that they decided to celebrate the Opera’s 60 years with the foundation of major institutions. «Given our budget, we are now establishing an Experimental Stage which will provide an opportunity to contemporary composers, not necessarily Greek, to experiment in opera every year.» The Experimental Stage will be run from the National Opera studios, with Theodoros Antoniou as its artistic director. This year it will produce works by Maxwell Davies, Stathis Gyftakis and Theodoris Abatzis, directed by Yiannis Iordanidis. «On its 60th anniversary, the National Opera must decisively enter contemporary reality. We will carry out further changes in the kind of works we produce, but also in the way that we produce them,» said Karytinos. This season, Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti’s opera-thriller «Le Grand Macabre» will be staged for the first time in Greece. Other productions include Offenbach’s operetta «La Vie Parisienne,» Mozart’s opera «La Finta Giardiniera» and two commissioned works, «Panoria,» a ballet, and «The Persians,» an opera, by Alkis Baltas and Periklis Koukos, respectively. The Children’s Stage will stage the «Barber of Seville,» while Ilias Kapetanakis’s «General Secretary» will be presented at the Akropol Theater. The National Opera Ballet will present «Sleeping Beauty,» «The Nutcracker,» «Don Quixote» and Baltas’s commissioned work «Panoria.» Next summer, the public will be able to see Mozart’s «Magic Flute,» a children’s opera; Verdi’s «Nabucco» in a new production; Koukos’s «Persians» and «Swan Lake» at the Herod Atticus Theater. The detailed program for the new season is the following: Verdi’s «Il Trovatore,» directed by V. Nikolaidis, on November 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18 and 23, December 28 and 30 and January 8 and 11; Tchaikovsky’s «Sleeping Beauty» on November 20, 21 and 22 and December 9 and 10; Handel’s «Xerxes,» directed by James Carson, on November 30 and December 3, 5 and 7; Offenbach’s «La Vie Parisienne,» directed by Yiannis Iordanidis, on December 19, 20, 21, 27 and 31, January 9 and 10 and March 3, 5, 6 and 7; Tchaikovsky’s «Nutcracker» on December 25 and 26 and January 2, 3, 4 and 7; Bizet’s «Carmen,» directed by Vassilis Nikolaidis, on January 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24 and 25; the new production of Donizetti’s «Don Pascuale,» directed by Enzo Dara, a joint production with the Teatro Comunale di Modena, on February 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8; Baltas’s «Panoria» on February 15, 20, 22, 24 and 25; Bellini’s «Norma,» directed by Yiannis Karahisaridis, on February 21, 27, 28 and 29 and March 10 and 14; Minkus’s «Don Quixote» on March 13, April 3, 4, 17, 20, 22 and 24 and May 12, 14, 15 and 16; Ligeti’s «Le Grand Macabre,» directed by Anastasia Vareli, on March 26, 28 and 31 and April 2; Mozart’s «La Finta Giardiniera,» directed by Niketi Kondouri, on April 18, 21, 23, 25 and 27, and finally Puccini’s «Tosca,» directed by Nikos Petropoulos, on May 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.