In the urn I hold
I have pieces of meat
children's arms and legs
and an old woman's breasts
The operetta is the flagship of light musical theatre and developed in parallel with its grander, more serious cousin, opera. Operettas were immensely popular in Greece especially between the wars, when hundreds of new works were written by some of the country's leading composers.
For the next 3 years, the GNO will present 3 new operetta works, commissioned from 3 acclaimed Greek composers, to creatively restart the art form.
The initiative launches in the 2017/18 artistic period with Bost's satirical version of Medea, which has been set to music as an operetta by Nikos Kypourgos following a commission from the GNO and will be directed by Nikos Karathanos.
It was a quite deliberate choice to launch the Operetta restart cycle with Bost's Medea, since it is in effect a radical work which will take on a new aspect after it is set to music and staged as an operetta.
Besides, it is no coincidence that Bost managed to create a completely individual, recognizable satirical style as a cartoonist, copywriter, dramatist, and painter. His unorthodox use of language and deliberately misspelled texts were intended to deconstruct purist Greek and firmly establish use of the demotic version of the language. Bost's satire was aimed at the petit bourgeois Greeks of the post-war decades, at conventionality, ignoramuses, the nouveau riche, the mania with all things foreign, as well as the intense class conflicts in post-war Greece and Greek political life.
The decapentasyllabic text of Medea takes Euripides' famous tragedy as its starting point but in typical Bost style talks about a woman who wants to kill her children because they will not take to learning and they don't want to work; not to mention that her husband is cheating on her and wants to marry Corinth's princess.
Nikos Kypourgos, one of Greece's most important living composers, was a close associate of Manos Hadjidakis. His career began with the famed Lilipoupoli radio series and since then he has composed tens of works for theatre and cinema, pieces of voice and orchestra, chamber music, music for dance, songs, and musicals.
Nikos Karathanos, an accomplished theatrical director, has in recent years developed a recognizable theatrical idiom all of his own, managing to create a new world in each and every performance he works on. Karathanos is collaborating with the GNO for the first time in what will be one of the most demanding artistic ventures of the 2017/18 artistic period.