National Opera’s new season

Giovanni Pacor, artistic director of the National Opera, recently unveiled the organization’s program for the 2008-2009 season. The season’s curtain raiser is a rerun of a past production, Giacomo Puccini’s «La Boheme,» at the Olympia Theater on October 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 21. A loosely directed version of Gaetano Donizetti’s «Anna Bolena» will follow on October 17, 19 and 22 at the same venue, while Giacomo Puccini’s «Gianni Schicchi» will be showcased on November 23, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30. Directed by Nikos Petropoulos, Giuseppe Verdi’s «Rigoletto» returns in December (20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28 and 30) and January, 2009 (2, 3, 4, 6) at the Olympia stage. Franz von Suppe’s «The Beautiful Galatea,» a co-production with the Athens Chamber Orchestra and the Patras Orchestra, will open at the Olympia Theater on January 17, 2009, with more shows on January 18, 20 and 21. In collaboration with the San Francisco Opera, Richard Wagner’s «Tannhauser» opens at the Athens Concert Hall on January 24 (additional performances on January 27 and 30 and February 1). Antonin Dvorak’s «Rusalka» will open in Greece for the first time in March, in collaboration with the Opera de Nice (March 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15), while Ruggero Leoncavallo’s «I Pagliacci» and Donizetti’s «Rita» will go on stage at the Olympia Theater on March 20, 22 and 24. Stavros Xarchakos’s opera «Cyrano and Roxanne» will make its global debut at the Olympia on April 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11, in a co-production with the Theatre Imperial de Compiegne. Another co-production, this time with the De Nederlandse Opera, is Vincenzo Bellini’s «I Puritani,» going on stage at the Athens Concert Hall on April 24, 26, 28 and 30. Also part of the upcoming events is a National Opera production in collaboration with the Arena di Verona – a performance which will be presented as part of the Athens Festival. The opera house is further planning a children’s opera, ballet, a Greek operetta and recitals. Among these, Astor Piazzolla’s small-scale work «Tango Operita,» is scheduled to go on stage at the Acropol Theater in May. According to Pacor, co-productions are the «future of opera.» «They have a flexibility which is needed, given how expensive productions are,» he noted. «The National Opera has the strength to stand on an equal footing with other international theaters at some point.»