Athens Concert Hall celebrates ancient heroine

Sophocles and Euripides’ tragic heroine, Electra, takes center stage at the Athens Concert Hall this month and next, through a series of events including theater, opera and cinema. The «Electra Cycle» kicks off with Richard Strauss’s renowned one-act opera, based on a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. A contemporary musical interpretation of a timeless myth of a woman, the opera goes on stage at the Alexandra Trianti Hall on Thursday, Sunday and March 7 and 10 with Greek supertitles. The cycle is sponsored by Theodoros and Gianna Angelopoulos. Few tickets are still available for the upcoming production, which, according to the Athens Concert Hall’s head Christos Lambrakis, «is the most difficult work of the operatic repertoire.» The opera is directed by Michael Hampe, who also created the set design together with Martin Rupprecht – the latter designed the production’s costumes too. Hans Toelstede is in charge of lighting, with choreography by Petros Gallias. According to Hampe, Athens is not a place to «show off.» «You have to respect the 3,000-year-old history,» he said at a recent press conference. He noted that it is a difficult score featuring «subconscious links at every step,» a «rich, dramatic language,» as well as a «libretto which one finds hard to grasp, not to mention translate for the stage.» Celebrated Agnes Baltsa is Clytemnestra – a role she interprets for the first time in Greece. «We are just about to give birth,» noted Baltsa at the press conference. «I am a small person tortured by fear and as a Greek, the emotional stress is even greater.» At the Athens Concert Hall Nadine Secunde takes the role of Electra, while Chrysothemis will be interpreted by Danish soprano Inga Nielsen. The Athens State Orchestra (KOA) will be conducted by Swedish maestro Johan Arnell. «Arnell is undertaking the historical responsibility of leading the KOA in a work the orchestra is facing for the very first time,» noted Lambrakis. «I believe that these performances will become landmark KOA performances in order for the orchestra to be recognized as an equal of fellow European symphonic ensembles.» Arnell added that «the orchestra is performing miracles in a short period of time.» The «Electra Cycle» kicks off tomorrow with a lecture by Costas Georgousopoulos on «Electras, the Adventures of a Figure.» The lecture will be simultaneously translated into English. The tribute continues with a screening of Michael Cacoyannis’s «Electra» on Saturday and the staging of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s «Electra.» Directed by Thomas Moschopoulos, the production is scheduled for April 20-25 and is dedicated to critic, journalist, and translator Marios Ploritis, who passed away recently. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333. For more information, log on to