Programme "The Young Generation of the Opera"
Greek National Opera
The first fruit borne by the "The Young Generation of the Opera" programme of the Greek National Opera, which was funded by the Latsis Foundation, was presented on the 4th and 6th of February at the National Opera Alternative Stage with the performance of "Idomeneo, Re Di Creta" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
This educational programme is intended for young artists who have completed their education and are in the early stages of their professional career. The ultimate goal of the programme is to put new artists through the test of a real working environment, by giving them the chance to participate in up to three productions. Guidance and training to these emerging artists is given by established opera professionals. Four months since the beginning of the programme, in October 2017, the artists who were selected through auditions had had the opportunity to participate in the following activities:
- Twelve introductory courses in acting by the prominent actor/director Vasilis Papavasileiou. During these lessons, which took place at the Greek National Opera facilities in Tavros, the young artists had the opportunity to get directions and guidelines from the distinguished theatre practitioner, about the staging approach of a text. The particular text was a part of the satire "The Woman from Zakynthos" by Dionysios Solomos.
- Detailed musical training on their corresponding roles, according to vocal range, for W. A. Mozart's opera "Idomeneo, Re Di Creta". The musical training was given by the new conductor Michalis Papapetrou, who has also undertaken the musical direction of the February 4 and 6 performances at the National Opera Alternative Stage. During the rehearsals, special emphasis was placed on the musical and stylistic precision of learning.
- Prominent Italian conductor Angelo Cavallaro, a long-time honourable collaborator of the Greek National Opera and former director of the Puccini International Festival in Torre del Lago, Italy, gave a seminar on the aesthetic and musical approach of a role, in three phases: first approach (in October), mastered musical knowledge (in November) and stage rehearsals, still in progress until the first performance on February 4.
- Opera singers Vangelis Chatzisimos and Sofia Kyanidou have undertaken the technical vocal training of the young artists with daily lessons focusing on their individual needs. Vangelis Chatzisimos, who is also responsible for the coordination of the programme, has translated the opera’s libretto to Greek. He also translated 18th century reference texts on aesthetics from German (Fr. Schiller: Die Schaubühne als eine moralische Anstalt betrachtet), which were a discussion topic with the participants of the programme.
- Internationally acclaimed baritone Tasis Christogiannopoulos, who as from the current season is back with the Greek National Opera, gave a two-day seminar on artistic expression for general repertoire, which was a great help to the participating artists and, in many cases, served as a catalyst for their positive activation. The seminar will be held again in spring.
- Kinesiology lessons were given by dancer and choreographer Thanasis Solomos, member of the National Opera’s ballet, and by choreographer Justine Guissot. The two artists focused on different approaches of the stage performer’s connection with his/her body and on the expressive possibilities opened up by this relationship.
- Lastly, in December, the stage rehearsals for the "Idomeneo" production began under the guidance of Maria Gyparakis, an experienced director who approached the opera focusing on the initiation of young artists to a professional performance, with all its difficulties and challenges. The performances of February 4 and 6, 2018 are the first goal to be achieved by the artists, who will perform in an iconic opera under specific professional standards and quality requirements. The assessment of these performances will show the extent of the effort that everyone has to make towards the final goal of the programme, which is the next opera, "The Rape of Lucretia," by Benjamin Britten.