Athens Concert Hall stages ‘Joan of Arc at the Stake’

“It’s a jigsaw of images and feelings. It is no opera or theatrical performance, not even an oratorio. What we did is dangerous!» said Thomas Moschopoulos, director of the ambitious production «Joan of Arc at the Stake,» at a recent press conference. The production, based on Arthur Honegger’s oratorio and Paul Claudel’s libretto, will be staged, in Greek, at the Athens Concert Hall for two nights, on Thursday and Friday. Nonika Galinea stars as Joan of Arc. The show begins in Rouen, where Joan of Arc has been put to the stake and tracks her life backward, from the end to the beginning, ending up at the stake once more. Events start with the chorus of her accusers calling her a heretic and a witch while she is bound in chains at court and then move on to the unanimous decision to put her to death, next come the voices of St Catherine and St Margaret urging her to lead the King to Reims, Charles VII’s coronation and so on. «You are all, no doubt, wondering why the Athens Concert Hall asked me to play the part of Joan of Arc, who is a holy maiden. I am tempted to leave you wondering,» said Galinea. «I felt happy preparing for the show. I feel that my presence is not of great importance. I was called upon to play a part entirely different from what I’ve played so far. I had to express myself via different means while being constantly coordinated with the music, which took all my acting initiative away.» Nikos Tsouchlos, artistic director of the Athens Concert Hall and conductor of the show, described the performance as a bizarre combination of various elements – song, movement and theater. The libretto was translated by Amalia Papadopoulou-Symeonidou. The sets and costumes are by Dionysis Fotopoulos, lighting by Lefteris Pavlopoulos and choreography by Constantinos Rigos. Interpreters include Aris Lembesopoulos, Anna Mascha and Julia Souglakou, with the participation of the State Theater of Northern Greece Dance Theater, the National Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) Choir, part of the Fons Musicalis choir and the Children’s Choir of the Kodaly Conservatory. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.

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