National Opera celebrates its 60th birthday with ‘Nabucco’

iuseppe Verdi’s «Nabucco» is a beloved opera worldwide. This popularity is one of the reasons why it has featured prominently in the Greek National Opera’s celebratory repertoire for the company’s 60-year-history. The production opens tonight at the Herod Atticus Theater as part of the Athens Festival and performances will run to Saturday. Featuring grand stage settings, artistic bravura and outstanding passages such as the «Va Pensiero» choral, the work opened for the first time in 1842. An instant success, the opera reflected the Italian desire to overthrow Austrian rule. «This is a choral opera which met with great success and urged the people to love this kind of music,» said Loukas Karytinos, artistic director of the National Opera, at a press conference on Monday. Karytinos, who will conduct the Greek National Opera Orchestra, also noted that Verdi was not much interested in character development. «Almost no single lead character appears alone on stage without being surrounded by a group of people,» he said. «We hope our staging will be close to the composer’s wishes.» Director Spyros Evangelatos noted that the opera’s lead character is the music itself. «This work is the masterpiece of Verdi’s early years. The libretto, however, does not reflect the grandeur of the musical composition, occasionally displaying gaps in meaning which cannot be bridged through rational thinking. Our aim was to present the work in such a way so to minimize these weaknesses.» At the Herod Atticus Theater, Alberto Mastromarino and Boris Statsenko alternate as Nabucco and Stamatis Beris and Dimitris Sigalos take turns as Ismaele. Also starring are Maria Guleghina, Lucia Mazzaria, Victoria Maifatova, Marita Paparizou, Pavlos Sampsakis and Christos Amvrazis. For information see What’s On.