Papess Joanne


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Alternative Stage

Holy Tuesday

Papess Joanne

  • 30 Apr 2024

Abridged opera in concert version

World premiere - GNO commission

Starts at 19.00


The Chamber Suite from Papess Joanne by Yiorgos Vassilandonakis is a condensed version of his opera Papess Joanne, a large-scale work in two acts scored for 18 soloists, choir and large orchestra and written to a libretto by Vangelis Hadziyannidis, based on Emmanouil Roidis' novel of the same title. The work was commissioned by the GNO for its 80th anniversary and its projected premiere in March 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic. The current version reconfigures the opera's material under new temporal, dramaturgical and orchestrational conditions, adapting it to a chamber suite in the form of an oratorio and preserving the main characters, the narrative as well as the dramatic content. This approach reveals new aspects of the original work, which has been reassembled to recount the same story. The four soloists portray multiple characters and the choir acquires a multiform status, adding new functions that incorporate a range from orchestral to percussive sounds to its already stylistically multifaceted character, while the pared-down instrumental ensemble conveys an intimate and transparent ambience. The suite, which contains the opera's most distinctive arias, duets and ensembles, follows the approach of its operatic predecessor. It focuses on delving into Joan's character, outlining her inescapable path to glory, hubris and nemesis, using elements and references from Orthodox and Catholic liturgical music paired with other traditional, medieval, contemporary and ethnic elements, woven anew into a distinctive musical idiom.

Yiorgos Vassilandonakis

Yiorgos Vassilandonakis' portfolio includes chamber, vocal, orchestral, opera, film, electronic and multimedia genres. His music is frequently presented in Europe and the USA and has been commissioned and performed among others by the New York New Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Charleston Symphony, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble. Awards include the 2011 Aaron Copland Prize, first prize at the Mediterranean Music Center 3rd International Composition Competition, the Henry Mancini Award, as well as grants and additional support from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center and the Ministry of Culture of France. Dr. Vassilandonakis has taught composition and music theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Virginia, as well as the Centre for Musical Creation Iannis Xenakis in Paris, before joining the faculty at the University of Charleston where he is Professor of Composition and Music Theory and Director of Contemporary Music Activities.

Michalis Paparetrou

Conductor and pianist, born in Athens. He studied piano and music theory at the Hellenic Conservatory and musicology at the Department of Music Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He continued his studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich (Bruno Weil's and Klaus von Wildemann's class). He has conducted the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ingolstadt Strings Orchestra, the Heilbronn Strings Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, the Orchestra of Colours, the Greek National Opera Orchestra etc. Qualifying in the top eight, he was distinguished among 217 participants at the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition for conductors. He has collaborated with the European Opera Centre, the Greek National Opera, the Athens Festival, the Athens Concert Hall, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the Armonia Atenea, etc.

Chrissa Maliamani

Greek soprano, born in Thessaloniki. She studied voice at the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki under Varvara Tsambali (diploma with honours) and completed her postgraduate studies at the Würzburg University of Music under Cheryl Studer. While studying she sang such roles as Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Fanny (La cambiale di matrimonio), Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia). Between September 2012 and July 2014, she was a member of the Ensemble of the Plauen-Zwickau Theatre, where she performed numerous roles such as Despina (Cos? fan tutte), ?nnchen (Der Freischütz) and Graziella (Detlev Glanert's Joseph Süss). Recently she performed the title roles in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Carlo Coccia's Caterina di Guisa, as well as the roles of Le?la (Les P?cheurs de perles), Eurydice (Orphée aux enfers, Olympia Theatre) and Adele (Die Fledermaus, Thessaloniki Concert Hall), while recently she sang Violetta (La traviata). At the GNO she has sung Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Frasquita (Carmen), Maid (Powder Her Face), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Sophie (Werther) and Vivika (The Godson).

Margarita Syngeniotou

Greek mezzo-soprano, she was born in Athens. She studied piano, music theory (fugue degree) and voice under Katy Papalexopoulou. She has performed as a soloist with the Greek National Opera in numerous productions of a wide range of repertoire, from the Baroque to the 20th Century. She was a permanent member of the Experimental Stage of the Greek National Opera since its creation. She was also a permanent member of the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music, performing Greek and foreign composers' works, many of which were presented for the first time or were written especially for her. She has collaborated with the Athens Concert Hall, rmonia Atenea - The Friends of Music Orchestra, Orchestra of Colours, Symphony Orchestra of Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, Ergon Ensemble, Cyprus State Orchestra, as well as with the Delphi and Aix-en-Provence Festivals. She has performed in many cities in Greece and abroad (USA, Germany, France, Italy, England, Cyprus, etc) in such concert halls as Carnegie Hall, Munich Academy of Arts, etc. She has recorded for the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. She teaches voice at the Musical Horizons Conservatory in Athens.

Yannis Christopoulos

Born in Athens, he studied Byzantine music and classical voice and continued his musical studies in Cremona, Italy (Alexandra Trianti scholarship, 1998). As a soloist, he has performed roles in classical and contemporary repertoire at the Greek National Opera, Megaron - The Athens Concert Hall and Thessaloniki Concert Hall. He has collaborated with all major Greek orchestras and has appeared in many productions and concerts, in international and Greek festivals and theatres such as Athens Epidaurus Festival, Demetria, Santorini and Nicosia Festivals, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Carnegie Hall (New York), Madrid Auditorio Nacional de M?sica, Cairo Opera etc. He participated in the recordings of Thanos Mikroutsikos' At My Place I Am a Perfect Stranger (poetry by François Villon) and The Return of Helen, Giorgos Hadjinasios' Chronicle of the Fall, Tasos Ioannidis' Revelation of John, Dimitris Papademetriou's Satyricon, Bizet's Le Docteur Miracle, etc. From January 2008 to October 2012 he was president of the Association of Greek Lyric Soloists and, since 2011, he has been a permanent member of the Greek National Opera Soloists.

Dionysios Sourbis

He was born on Zakynthos island, Greece. He studied voice in Athens under Giorgos Samartzis at the Alex Tournaisen Conservatory, graduating with a voice diploma. He also studied trumpet under Dionysios Kladis. On a scholarship from the Maria Callas Foundation, he continued his studies in Treviso, Italy (2005-2007). He won first prizes in the international competitions Totti Dal Monte di Treviso (Italy) and Spiros Argiris, and was awarded an honourable distinction from the Association of Greek Theatre and Music Critics (2013). He has appeared as Ping (Turandot) at the Royal Opera House London (2013), the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi Bologna, in Rovigo, on Italian television Rai Uno, etc. His repertoire includes principal and secondary baritone roles. His collaboration with the GNO began in 2009 as a chorus member, and right away he began to sing secondary and subsequently principal roles. Till today he has sung such roles as Sotiris (The Mother's Ring / dachtylidi tis manas), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), Giorgio Germont (La traviata), Albert (Werther), Batone (L'inganno felice), Danilo (Die lustige Witwe), Gabriel von Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Marcello (La bohème), Silvio (Pagliacci), Valentin (Faust), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Lescaut (Manon Lescaut), the title role in Don Giovanni, Guglielmo (Cos? fan tutte) etc.

Programme - Performers

Yiorgos Vassilandonakis (b. 1969)
Chamber Suite from Papess Joanne (2023-24)
for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone, mixed choir and instrumental ensemble
Libretto: Vangelis Hatziyannidis, based on The Papess Joanne by Emmanouil Roidis

Conductor: Michalis Papapetrou

Chrissa Maliamani soprano
Margarita Syngeniotou mezzo-soprano
Yannis Christopoulos tenor
Dionysios Sourbis baritone

With the participation of theHellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) Chorus

Marilena Dori flute
Ilias Skordilis clarinet
Ioanna Panagopoulou percussion
Thanos Margetis piano
Dionisis Vervitsiotis violin
Alexandros Botinis cello


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