‘Nabucco’ at the GNO

For its latest offering, the Greek National Opera (GNO) has opted to go the way of a well-known production, Giuseppe Verdi’s «Nabucco» – the opera widely regarded as the work that established Verdi’s reputation as a composer – performed by a high-profile cast. To be performed over four nights, Sunday, February 28 and March 2 and 4, the production brings to Athens two world-famous opera figures, the soprano Maria Guleghina and baritone Leo Nucci. Guleghina, cast for the production’s demanding role of Abigaille, has performed over 100 shows at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, as well as 14 new productions at Milan’s La Scala. Nucci, a leading exponent of works by Verdi, will perform the production’s title role over the two final nights. Mark Rucker will perform the first two evenings. Nucci, who made his Metropolitan debut alongside Luciano Pavarotti in 1980, has since returned to the prestigious venue for performances at least once a year. Julia Pevzner, the production’s director, approached «Nabucco» with a modern perspective aimed at offering a view on war and its victims, the recklessness of power, and the consequences felt by the masses. «Nabucco,» first performed at La Scala on March 9, 1842, follows the plight of Jews as they are assaulted and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar in English). When first presented, the opera’s success exceeded expectations. Contrary to legend surrounding the opera, «Nabucco» was never subject to censorship. The stage set for the National Opera’s upcoming production was designed by Antonis Daglidis, the costumes are by Tota Pritsa, and the choreography is by Petros Gallias. Greek National Opera, Olympia Theater, 59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.2461/364.3725.