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Performance · Premiere

Georgios Iatrou, Anthi Kougia

07 Jun 2023 / Starts at 20.30

Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

As part of Athens Pride 2023

The Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera takes part for the first time in Athens Pride 2023 with the premiere of the performance Living Room, a music performance created by baritone and drag performer Georgios Iatrou and visual artist and director Anthi Kougia that combines drag and classical singing, set poetry and visual arts. Living Room will be presented on the GNO Alternative Stage at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on Wednesday 7 June 2023, at 20.30. Admission will be free upon priority vouchers that will be distributed from Monday 29 May 2023, at 12.00, exclusively via ticket services.

In Living Room, Georgios Iatrou, creator of the drag persona Nina Nai, and Anthi Kougia craft a stage performance based on personal experience, about the concept of chameleonism we so often adopt, burying our true identity in order to adapt to the environment we live in. Distinguished conductor and pianist Giorgos Ziavras accompanies Nina Nai on the piano. The set is by architect Zakis Louspas.


The Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera presents the performance Living Room created by Georgios Iatrou and Anthi Kougia as part of Athens Pride 2023. The personal experience of the two creators feeds a performance that reflects the imperatives permeating our life and identities. The work uses the cultural connotations of the concept of chameleonism, to express the entrapment of a being in rigid spatial and -by extension- social boundaries, and talks about the stagnation of the individual who is engulfed by their environment as well as about their desire to free themselves from the burden of the rigid ways of being, about the redemptive revelation of the self.


Lied is a genre of vocal music that flourished mainly in the 19th century in German-speaking areas, where, from the very beginning, it used to be performed traditionally in living rooms of the bourgeois class. It is characterised by the setting of poetic texts, where piano and voice go hand in hand in an equal artistic partnership. The key word for the music style and poetry we chose for this work is the German word "Sehnsucht", which is translated as "longing", "desire", "yearning", or "craving". Some psychologists use the word Sehnsucht to describe thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect.


The set is inspired by the actual living room of a Lied evening. In this case, however, the living room's atmosphere is reminiscent of the living rooms where we grew up or are still living. Inescapably, the idea of a human being getting absorbed by the walls surrounding them or their couch, as well as that of loneliness, which is so present in this work, are associated with the recent collective trauma of the pandemic.


The songs composing the musical universe of Living Room explore composers of the late Romantic period (late 19th century to early 20th century), like Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf and Alban Berg. The richness of the melodies, the complexity of the harmonies, and the morbidity of the poems reflect the decadent artistic movement of the time. The key word for the music style and poetry we chose for this work is the German word "Sehnsucht", which is translated as "longing", "desire", "yearning", or "craving". Some psychologists use the word Sehnsucht to describe thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect. The programme's last song from the song cycle Winter Journey, is a journey back in time to the most important composer of the Lied genre, Franz Schubert, whose strophic structure echoes the simplicity of the songs of the Renaissance period.

Alternative Stage founding donor


Greek National Opera

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Stavros Niarchos Foundation
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