Theodorakis’s most primal, sarcastic opera on double CD

Mikis Theodorakis’s opera «The Metamorphoses of Dionysus» is, without doubt, the most moving – on a primal and aesthetic level – and the most sarcastic of the composer’s works. It is also his most political. The German record label Intuition recently released a double CD of the opera, in collaboration with Kulturradio. Listed as opus AST 271, the opera has been orchestrated in chamber music form by Henning Schmiedt and was performed with great skill and energy by the Orchestra di Musica Difficile of Gdansk in 1999, with foreign soloists and musicians conducted by the composer himself. The production is by Asteris Koutoulas. The new release of «The Metamorphoses of Dionysus» further enhances the ever-growing international discography of Theodorakis’s operas and symphonies. Last year, for example, another German label released a double CD of Theodorakis Seventh Symphony along with symphonies by Anton Bruckner. «The Metamorphoses of Dionysus» is the first opera Theodorakis penned. Written in the mid-1980s, it was originally titled «Karyotakis,» after the late 19th and early 20th century Greek poet Costas Karyotakis who took his own life in 1928. The libretto, which essentially focuses on the modernist poet’s suicide and addresses the collapse of a public system of ethics, was written by the composer. He based it on verses of Karyotakis’s poetry and included lyrics written by Costas Varnalis.

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