Greek National Opera inaugurates the new chapter in its history at its new facilities at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center with an ambitious venture, having chosen an insuperable operatic masterpiece with a Greek storyline as its first work; none other than Richard Strauss’ Elektra based on the tragedy of that name by Sophocles.
Elektra has been dubbed one of the most important, yet also most demanding, 20th century operas. Staging the work is a major challenge for the Greek National Opera and its musical ensembles because the particularly complex score, in which Strauss pushes expressionistic delivery to the limits, almost touching upon tonality, requires around 110 musical instruments.
Strauss’ Elektra has never before been performed by the Greek National Opera. The symbolism operates on many levels, since a work with a Greek theme has been chosen, inspired by the myth of the house of Atreus, which will play a major role in the Greek National Opera’s overall program for the next 3 years, but is also a 20th century work since one of the Greek National Opera’s intentions is to demonstrate that opera, the lyric art, and musical theater did not come to an end in the 19th century.
The production also marks the first collaboration between the Greek National Opera and world class Greek contralto Agnes Baltsa, who will star as Klytemnestra in all performances, which will be directed by the international Greek director and set designer Yannis Kokkos, and conducted by the internationally acclaimed conductor Vassilis Christopoulos. The acclaimed Wagnerian soprano Iréne Theorin stars in the title role. Theorin has performed the role in Saltsburg, Paris, Munich, and, after Athens, will be performing in Stockholm. Renowned Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos will be debuting in the role of Orestis.