The Voice of the Bacchae
Ioannis Angelakis



Alternative Stage

Music theatre

The Voice of the Bacchae

Ioannis Angelakis
  • 18, 19 May 2024

Music theatre - GNO premiere

Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Starts at: 20.30 (Sunday: 19.30)|


Alternative Stage founding donor


Alternative Stagesponsor: PPC (Public Power Company)

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The music theatre production The Voice of the Bacchae created by emerging composer Ioannis Angelakis, a specialwork that blends music theatre with contemporary experimental music, will be presented on the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera at the SNFCC for two unique performances on 18 and 19 May 2024. The production features tenor Christos Kechris and musicians from Ergon Ensemble, known for their expertise incontemporary music. Sought-after stage director George Koutlis stamps his mark on the direction.

Through the constant use of undefined phonemes, the performance The Voice of the Bacchae reveals the human voice's status as a primary means of non-verbal communication, creating a sense of primeval ritual. The raw quality of the voices and instruments produces sonic events that demarcate violence, as it unfolds through Euripides' work: between Pentheus and Dionysus, between the opposing forces of human nature, between tradition and the savage desire for that which is new. As Euripides' play The Bacchae brings out an eternal conflict at the root of the human psyche and history, so the performance The Voice of the Bacchae strives to penetrate the nature of the human voice and illuminate its unexplored aspects.

Composer Ioannis Angelakis leaves his signature on a work that attempts to redefine the meaning of music theatre. As he notes: Musicians act on the instruments and their voices, yet their actions do not always produce the same sound result. The sounds are not completely controllable; they are inherently unstable and constantly moving; they encompass their own logic in how they develop. And exactly because the sounds follow their own independent course and do not reproduce a predefined content, one can say that this is a sound drama, in which sound is born the moment an action takes place and cannot be repeated as such again. Therefore, with sound serving only as itself, the sound drama demands a different mode of listening that will be detached from any traditional methods and aimed at bringing out the pleasure that comes solely from highlighting the inner structures of sound. This is not about the music of the Bacchae nor about a programmatic performance telling Euripides' tragedy. There are neither human characters nor representations of the plot on stage. Moreover, the theatrical action, mainly involving stage movements by the musicians, is not intended to tell any parallel story, but to visually highlight the sound's action. In other words, this is a music drama that differs from what we typically think of as music theatre or opera, that is, the combination of a theatrical and musical representation, where music is intended to bring out the theatrical dramaturgy. The Voice of the Bacchae proposes a rejuvenating approach to the concept of music drama: stage action no longer serves and emphasizes sound, but, is now is called upon to contribute to the creation of a sonic world. The Voice of the Bacchae is a sound drama starring only sound, with Euripides' tragedy serving as a symbolic connection.

To director George Koutlis, the performance is a sound drama that explores the efforts of voice to convey some meaning, the efforts of sound to become music, and the efforts of people to communicate. As he notes: Four performers on stage, three winds and a singer, each one with their own instrument, exhale air, create sound, and strive to harmonize as a group. Like a genetically inscribed need of people to create some form of dance, yet without having the experience of previous generations in this process. Music stands serve as points of reference, scores are their structures, and sound is the their only means. This performance is an attempt to reinvent our relationship with things that today seem self-evident.

The set and costumes have been designed by Artemis Flessa and the lighting by Giorgos Agiannitis. Participating are tenor Christos Kechris and the musicians from Ergon Ensemble Kostas Tzekos (bass clarinet), Spyros Laskaridis (trumpet), and Andreas-Rolandos Theodorou (trombone).

The production was presented for the first time as part of the Ministry of Culture's programme All of Greece, One Culture in 2021..

The production THE VOICE OF THE BACCHAE is part of the GNO Alternative Stage's unit of programming titled MUSIC THEATRE DAYS, which falls under the ACT FESTIVAL EVENTS OF THE GNO ALTERNATIVE STAGE 2024-2025 (MIS 6002467) with code 202408570049 (Priority: Fostering regional social cohesion through the enhancement of mechanisms and infrastructure to support employment, education, health care and socioeconomic inclusion of the programme Attica 2021-2027) and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and National Resources.


Stage director:
George Koutlis

Set & costume designer:
Artemis Flessa

Lighting designer:
Giorgos Agiannitis

Christos Kechris (tenor)

Musicians from Ergon Ensemble
Kostas Tzekos (bass clarinet)
Spyros Laskaridis (trumpet)
Andreas -Rolandos Theodorou (trombone)

Ticket prices: €12, €15
Students, children: €10

*Strobe lights will be used during the performance.


Greek National Opera

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Children under 6 years old are not allowed (4 years old for children's performances).

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  • Saturday 18 May 2024, 20:30 The Voice of the Bacchae
    Ioannis Angelakis
  • Sunday 19 May 2024, 19:30 The Voice of the Bacchae
    Ioannis Angelakis
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