Experiments with opera

“We will stage the work of any young Greek composer, whether we like it or not. We won’t censor it. That is our experiment,» said Loukas Karytinos, artistic director of the National Opera, at a recent press conference held for the opening of the National Opera’s Experimental Stage. The first performances will take place over the weekend, at a specially designed venue under the National Opera’s studio on Pireos Street. «Every opera must contain a section that will experiment with the ‘continuation of opera.’ There were many questions concerning this undertaking. This is an experiment for us too; it is a risk from both the artistic and directorial point of view. We decided that the staff must include people from all over the world, not just Greeks. The venue we have come up with is perfectly suitable: It seats 200 people and the stage can be altered to suit the needs of each show. This year, admission will be free, in an effort to reach the public. We will see how it goes,» said Karytinos. «Composers can’t express themselves freely within the framework of classic opera. We must free the relationship between opera and repertoire, so as to make way for more views,» said composer Theodoros Antoniou, the founder and director of the Experimental Stage. The program of the two shows includes Peter Maxwell Davies’s work «The Lighthouse,» directed by Giorgos Michailidis and featuring interpreters Christos Yiannoulis, Tassos Apostolou and Petros Magoulas; «The Journey,» by Stathis Gyftakis and featuring Margarita Syngeniotou and Apostolou; and finally «The Seven-Year Poet,» by Theodoris Abatzis, with Arietta Moutousi and Yiannoulis. «Writing an opera is easy, the difficulty lies with realizing it,» said Abatzis. «The Seven-Year Poet» is based on the life of Arthur Rimbaud. The sets are by Constantinos Theofanis with costumes by Dina Antonopoulou. «This work is totally unrelated to what we call classic opera. All participants have an active role,» said Stathis Gyftakis, talking about «The Journey.» Director Giorgos Michailidis said that the plot of «The Lighthouse» is based on events that took place at the beginning of the century.