CULTURE

Greek premiere for Mozart opera

“The score had disappeared and was recently discovered. The opera was staged in its genuine form only in 1980.» The National Opera’s new productions for the winter season end with Mozart’s youthful comic opera «La Finta Giardiniera» (The Pretend Garden Girl); the opera, being staged for the first time in Greece, will open on Sunday and more performances will follow on April 21, 23, 25 and 27. «The reason we chose that opera was, firstly, because it is the National Opera’s policy to stage at least one new opera per year. This work will also signal the beginning of the festivities for the 250-year anniversary since Mozart’s birth, which will reach their peak in 2006,» said the National Opera’s artistic director Loukas Karytinos at a recent press conference. The opera is directed by Nikaiti Koundouri, in her first-ever collaboration with the National Opera. «It was a fascinating experience, in every way. I gave priority to the music and used it as a text,» said the director. «This opera is a comedy of errors. Everything works out in the end, but much happens until order is restored… My difficulty was in managing to work theatrically (with bodies, people, relations and gazes) and at the same time to give precedence to the composer and the director. Along with the opera’s seven soloists, there is also a team of actors and dancers (whom I have worked with in theater), who bridge the different scenes. In order to create a sort of magic box between realism and fairy tale, we created, with Tota Pritsa (responsible for the sets and costumes), a plain stage setting with clever solutions, while the old-time costumes bring out the atmosphere of a dream world, detached from us.» «I am a very happy man, for many reasons. I am conducting a wonderful work by Mozart, which he composed when he was only 18, which goes to prove that a work’s value does not coincide with age. I am also working with a wonderful team. Interpreting Mozart requires a certain particularity,» said conductor Roger Rossel, who will alternate with Chrysanthos Alissafis. Mozart wrote «La Finta Giardiniera» upon the request of the Bavarian court; it was staged for the first time in Munich, on January 13, 1775. The libretto was written by Giuseppe Petrosellini. It was Mozart’s first step toward the musical direction which, a few years later, led to operas like «The Marriage of Figaro» and «Cosi Fan Tutte.» This work is thought to have signaled the starting point of the composer’s maturity. One of the opera’s most interesting elements is the way the composer combined tradition and novelty: He added a personal and original touch to sounds that were familiar to the audience at the time. The endings of the acts stand out for their clever structure, as the composer introduced unexpected events which, however, managed to enrich the main course of action and not go against it. Members of the cast were guided by Aris Christofellis. The choreography is by Maria Alvanou and the lights by Giorgos Patsas and Yiannis Theodoridis. Interpreters include Maria Mitsopoulou, Myrto Papathanassiou, Nikos Stefanou and Katerina Kostea.