CULTURE

New creative director at the National Opera

The internationally acclaimed stage designer and director Stefanos Lazaridis is set to take over as creative director of the Greek National Opera in January. Meanwhile, he is expected in Athens this week so he can be briefed on the company’s current situation and problems. News of his appointment recently coincided with the announcement of an ambitious plan devised by the ministries of National Economy and Finance and Culture for the development of a music park to house the National Opera along with other ensembles, at the Faliron delta. Born to Greek parents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 64-year-old Lazaridis lives and works in London. From 1970 to 2000 he worked closely with the English National Opera on more than 30 productions. A multifaceted artist, Lazaridis has also collaborated with leading international theaters and opera houses, while at the same time working on projects such as a Duran Duran production in the United States in 1993. Back in Athens only one of his projects is widely known, namely a play written by Dimitris Dimitriadis and produced at the Notos Theater in the 1990s. Abroad, however, it’s quite a different story. Lazaridis has worked with Milan’s La Scala, Vienna’s State Opera, the Bolshoi Opera, the impenetrable Bayreuth festival, as well as the Royal Shakespeare Theater, the Theatre de l’Europe (during the tenure of Giorgio Strehler) and London’s Royal Ballet. Lazaridis has also collaborated with the Royal Opera House in London recently in productions such as «Greek Passion» and «Wozzeck,» both of which earned him the coveted Lawrence Olivier award. The artist is currently working on a Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s «Ring of the Niblung.»