Greek National Opera's new international co-production
starts its journey from Athens and GNO TV
áA while before being presented by the Göteborg Opera and the RoyaláDanish Opera, Don Giovanni comes to nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/enáfrom 14 February.áá
áMozart's Don Giovanni is the first of Greek National Opera'sáinternational co-productions scheduled to be created and premiere ináAthens, and then travel to the other two opera houses participating ináthe co-production. Due to the pandemic the production was not presentedáto a live audience, but it was video recorded in the Stavros NiarchosáHall and its world premiere will be presented on GNO TV. Theáperformance will be available onááánationalopera.gr/GNOTV/enáfrom 14 February 2021. Then, as scheduled, it will be presented ináGöteborg within 2021 and in Copenhagen in 2022. Don Giovanni'sáproduction and GNO TV wereámade possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)á[áááwww.SNF.orgá] to enhance the Greek National Opera's artistic outreach.á
One of the greatest milestones of the operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni is a challenge not only for opera singers but alsoáfor the creative team called upon to stage it. Mozart's exceptionallyáimaginative music conveys all the aspects of the course of a man whoáfights with God and takes his fate in his own hands, while managing toáconnect the world of the nobles with the comic characters, in anáunprecedented way. In this emblematic work nothing is as it seems,ásince ambiguity runs through both the libretto and the music. The storyáis about the amorous adventures of the philanderer Spanish nobleman,áDon Giovanni. In one of them, he attempts to rape Donna Anna. In hisáeffort to escape, he kills her father, who then returns from the worldáof the dead to take revenge. As Don Giovanni does not repent for hisáactions, he is led to Hell.áá
The sets and costumes of the new production of Don Giovanni wereácreated entirely in GNO's construction workshops, rehearsals took placeáin October and November 2020 in GNO's rehearsal halls, and theáperformance was video recorded in mid-December in the Stavros NiarchosáHall. The production was video recorded by a state-of-the-artáeight-camera systemááand directed using special filmmaking techniques, in order to offer aáhigh-quality viewing and listening experience to the audience. Theáperformance will be presented on GNO TV and subtitles will be available ináGreek, English and French.
The production is conducted by Australian conductor Daniel Smith andádirected by John Fulljames, with the participation of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera andstarring distinguished Greek soloistsááTassis Christoyannis, Vassiliki Karayanni, Yannis Christopoulos, PetrosáMagoulas, Anna Stylianaki, Tassos Apostolou, Nikos Kotenidisááand Chrissa Maliamani.
John Fulljames is the artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera, formerádeputy artistic director of the Royal Opera House, London, and founder andáartistic director of the avant-garde British artistic company The OperaáGroup. He has directed performances at the world's greatest opera houses,ásuch as La Scala, Milan, Covent Garden, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatreádel Liceu in Barcelona, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, etc. The director,áwho sets the opera's action in a modern-day hotel, in the microcosm of aácity where the private becomes public and the stay lasts only a limitedátime, notes: "Don Giovanniááis an enduring opera because it has so many aspects; there is broadáhumour and great theatrical set pieces, all in a dark thriller about aáseducer who must be stopped. It is about how we live together inásociety and, as ever with opera, about how we face death. The climax isáthe long-awaited death of Don Giovanni himself as he chooses death,áhell even, over denying who he is. His death is an expression of orderáreasserting itself over the unrestrained liberty he representsáá".
The people who worked alongside Fulljames for Don Giovanni'sáspectacular staging are associate director Aylin Bozok, set designer Dick Bird who designed the impressive sets representing all theaspects of a city hotel, costume designer Annemarie Woods,choreographer Maxine Braham, lighting designer Fabiana Piccioli, video designer Will Duke and videoprogrammer Dan Trenchard.
John Fulljames' note
Death runs like an atmosphere through Don Giovanni - most obviouslyáthe Commendatore dies, but Donna Anna contemplates taking her own life,áOttavio says he is willing to sacrifice his life to revenge her, Leporelloáis almost killed, Masetto is almost killed, we are fearful for Zerlina... Butáof course the death which is the long-awaited and trailed climax of theáopera is that of Don Giovanni himself -it becomes inevitable and evenáwished for by him as he chooses death, hell even, over denying who he is-áas the individualistic threat of total, unrestrained, liberty which heárepresents can only be vanquished by his death. His death is an expressionáof order reasserting itself. All trace of him is wiped away and societyácontinues. A miniature version of this re-statement of order occurs everyátime that we leave a hotel; as our rooms are fumigated and made new againáto create once again the illusion that a new occupant will, tonight, be theáfirst occupant. Hotels are stages on which we enact lives in defiance ofámortality. Our mess is cleared away, no actions have consequences and thereáare clean sheets every day. Hotels are resonant in other ways; they areáplaces where different people and classes encounter each other - whetheráfor a civic event, a wedding where the family are spending their lifeásavings, a long-term wealthy resident, a traveler visiting a city. Placesáwhere there is both intimacy and anonymity, both private and public spaces.áPlaces where much of the function is oriented around what happens afterádark. But above all they are places which one day we must check-out of. Soáplease make yourself at home, check in, collect your room key, lock up yourávaluables and leave behind the world outside.
Don Giovanni áat a glance
The composer /áThere is little doubt anymore that Mozart was an intellectual, one of theámost significant, restless and interesting personalities of his time, aácharismatic, sensitive man with high ideals. Contemporary musicologicaláresearch is constantly adding small pieces to the puzzle that forms theáportrait of the composer, discovering new and exciting facets of his life.
The opera / áDon Giovanni áis written in two acts. The libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte was based on anáearlier version by Giovanni Bertati for Giuseppe Gazzaniga's opera Don Giovanni o sia Il convitato di pietra, which was first performedin Venice in 1787.
Comedy or drama? / áDa Ponte labeled his libretto a dramma giocoso, a term which wasáinterpreted as referring to a dramatic piece with comical elements. Mozartáhimself entered the work in his thematic catalogue as an opera buffaá, a comical work. Apart from substantial elements of structure and musicalácharacterization which clearly classify the piece as a comic opera,ánowadays musicologists agree that in its time the term dramma giocoso meant nothing more than musical comedy,nothing different than opera buffa. In Mozart's times terms were notáused with the fastidiousness we usually insist upon nowadays.
Premieres / áDon Giovanni áwas first performed on 29 October 1787 at the Estates Theatre in Pragueá-today renamed as Tyl Theatre-, which was annexed by the National Theatreáin 1948. For the Viennese premiere (7 May 1788), Mozart adapted the scoreáfor the new singers, composed new pieces for certain roles and removedáothers. Nowadays the opera is usually presented in a version includingáparts from both versions. Don Giovanni was introduced to theárepertoire of the Greek National Opera (est. 1939/40) on 30 March 1962. Theáwork was conducted by Antiochos Evangelatos and with Kostas Paskalis in theátitle role.
Synopsis of the original
Act I / áNight. Outside the Commendatore's home Leporello is waiting as DonáGiovanni, his master, is inside attempting to ravish the Commendatore'sádaughter, Donna Anna. A masked Don Giovanni runs from the house with DonnaáAnna in hot pursuit, shouting to her father for help. Awakened by herápleas, the Commendatore challenges Don Giovanni to a duel, in which theáelder man is killed. After Don Giovanni and Leporello flee, Donna Anna andáher fiancé, Don Ottavio, swear to avenge the death of the Commendatore. DonáGiovanni and Leporello hear the cries of a woman. Don Giovanni, never oneáto pass up an opportunity, approaches, but recognizes her as Donna Elvira,áwhom he had recently seduced and abandoned. Leporello, who was assigned byáDon Giovanni to distract her while he beats a hasty retreat, tells Elviraáthat she means nothing to his amorous master. The village is celebratingáthe impending wedding of Zerlina and Masetto. Lusting after Zerlina,áGiovanni orders Leporello to amuse Masetto and the revellers so that he mayábe alone with Zerlina. Donna Elvira interrupts him just as he is about toáwoo Zerlina. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive and ask Don Giovanni to helpáthem find the Commendatore's masked murderer. Their suspicion is arousedáwhen they hear Donna Elvira's denunciations of Don Giovanni, but he assuresáthem that the scorned woman is mad. Don Giovanni leaves, but Donna Annaátells Don Ottavio she recognized his voice as that of her father'sámurderer. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira wear masks and secretlyájoin a party organized by Don Giovanni in celebration of Zerlina andáMasetto. At the feast, Zerlina's screams interrupt the dancing revellers,áand Don Giovanni falsely accuses Masetto of attacking her. Donna Anna, DonáOttavio and Donna Elvira remove their masks and confront Don Giovanni, whoámanages to escape.
Act II / áLeporello threatens to leave his master's service, but Don Giovanniáconvinces him to stay and help him seduce Donna Elvira's maid. Theyáexchange clothes and Don Giovanni serenades the maid while Leporelloádiverts Donna Elvira. Still disguised as Don Giovanni, Leporello is tryingáto escape from Donna Elvira when he is trapped by Don Ottavio, Donna Anna,áZerlina, and Masetto, who believe they have finally caught Don Giovanni.áThe servant pleads for mercy and escapes, and Don Ottavio reaffirms hisáoath for revenge to Donna Anna. Donna Elvira laments her betrayal of DonáGiovanni. Don Giovanni and Leporello meet up in a cemetery, where theyásuddenly see the statue of the slain Commendatore. To Leporello's horror,áthe statue accepts an invitation to dinner at Don Giovanni's house. DespiteáOttavio's promises, Donna Anna is reluctant to marry while she is still inámourning. Donna Elvira bursts in on Don Giovanni's feast, urging him toámend his ways, but to no avail. The statue of the Commendatore arrives forádinner and demands that Don Giovanni atone for his sins. He refuses andámeets his doom. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Donna Elvira, Masetto and Zerlinaáarrive in search of Giovanni, but find only Leporello. The stunned servantátells them of the evening's occurrences, and they agree that evildoers sucháas Don Giovanni always meet a bitter end. All think about how they willácontinue their lives: Zerlina and Masetto will enjoy a quiet married life,áDonna Anna will postpone her marriage to Don Ottavio due to mourning, DonnaáElvira will retire to a convent and Leporello will look for a better boss.
Daniel Smith áConductor
Australian conductor who has rapidly gained international acclaim afteráwinning numerous prizes at prestigious international competitions. Heáserved as Direttore Principale Ospite of Teatro Carlo Felice in Italy, heáwas the first Australian to conduct the Czech Philharmonic and the LondonáPhilharmonic, as well as at the Mariinsky Theatre, the Teatro dell'Opera diáRoma, the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, etc. He has launched the charityáfoundation "The Daniel Smith 'Gift of Music' Foundation", which gives theáopportunity to socially vulnerable groups to attend performances for free.áThis is the second time he collaborates with the Greek National Opera.
John Fulljames áDirector
Artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera, former associate director ofáthe Royal Opera House, London, and co-founder and artistic director of theáartistic company The Opera Group. His credits include Nixon in Chinaá(Copenhagen, Scottish Opera), Orphée et Euridice (La Scala, Milan,áROH), Street Scene (2008 Best Musical Evening Standard Awards,áMonte-Carlo, Teatro Real, Oper Köln, Théâtre du Châtelet, Liceu), Faust (Dortmund), Così fan tutte (Garsington, Bucharest),etc. In 2007 and 2008 he directed to great acclaim the works A Florentine Tragedy, Gianni Schicchi and Mavra at theGreek National Opera.
Tassis Christoyannis áDon Giovanni
Greek baritone, since 1989 he has been singing with the Greek NationaláOpera, at the Athens Concert Hall and at the most prestigious theatresáworldwide. His repertoire includes leading roles in such operas asIl barbiere di Siviglia, Macbeth, Don Giovanni, Don Carlos, La traviata, Die Zauberflӧte, Eugene Onegin, Faust, Hamlet, Un ballo in maschera, Falstaff, Il trovatore. Apartfrom recordings of opera works he has also recorded songs by French andáGreek composers. He also composes music. He received the Prix de l'AcadémieáCharles Cros ("Best French songs interpreter", category: opera).
Vassiliki Karayanni áDonna Anna
Greek soprano, she has repeatedly sung leading roles in productions of theáGNO, as well as at the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls. She has alsoáappeared at prestigious opera houses across the world, festivals andáconcert halls such as the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), LaáScala (Milan), Komische Oper Berlin, Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Düsseldorf),áTeatro Nacional de São Carlos, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, QueenáElizabeth Hall and Cadogan Hall, Carnegie Hall, Teatro Carlo Felice (Genoa,áItaly), and the Royal Danish Opera. She has performed numerous leadingároles such as Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La traviata), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Norina (Don Pasquale), Gilda ( Rigoletto), Zerlina (Don Giovanni).
Yannis Christopoulos áDon Ottavio
Greek tenor, as a soloist he has performed roles of classical andácontemporary repertoire at the Greek National Opera, as well as at theáAthens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls. He has collaborated with all majoráGreek orchestras and has appeared in many performances and concerts, ináinternational and Greek festivals and theatres such as the Greek Festival,áDemetria, Santorini and Nicosia Festivals, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino,áCarnegie Hall, National Auditorium of Music (Madrid), Cairo Opera, etc. Heáhas recorded numerous works (by Thanos Mikroutsikos, Giorgios Hatzinasios,áBizet, etc.) and since 2011 he has been a permanent member of the GreekáNational Opera Soloists.
Petros Magoulas áIl Commendatore
Greek bass, he has sung at the GNO, Kiel Opera House, ROH, Welsh NationaláOpera, Bilbao Opera, Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls, AthensáFestival, etc such roles as Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Don Giovanni, Heinrich der Vogler (Lohengrin), Daland (Der fliegende Holländer), Fiesco ( Simon Boccanegra). He has also performed Verdi's and Mozart'sRequiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14, etc. He has taken part in internationally awardedrecordings such as the one of Handel's works (Decca Classics) under GeorgeáPetrou. In 2019 he sang the role of the Commendatore (Don Giovanni)áat the R¤ă (Covent Garden, London), in a production that was filmed andápresented to hundreds of halls across the world.
Anna Stylianaki áDonna Elvira
Greek soprano, she studied voice and opera at the Thessaloniki StateáConservatory. She continued postgraduate studies at the University of Musicáand Performing Arts, Munich, and specialized in Lied. She receivedáscholarships from the Maria Callas Association and Richard Wagner VerbandáInternational (Munich). She has performed, among others, Veronica (Le docteur Miracle), Mimì (La bohème), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Vivika (The Godson), Anthoula ( Perouze), Maria Boccanegra (Simon Boccanegra), and Rosalinde(Die Fledermaus). She received honorary mention at the Grand PrixáMaria Callas (2014) and the 3rd Award at the Marie Kraya InternationaláSinging Competition (2015).
Tassos Apostolou áLeporello
Greek bass, he studied voice in Athens under Frangiskos Voutsinos and ináMilan under Maria-Luisa Cioni and Roberto Negri. He graduated from theáDepartment of Political Sciences of the Athens Law School (University ofáAthens) and from the Veaki Drama School. Among others, he has sung at theáGreek National Opera, Opera of Thessaloniki, Athens Concert Hall,áThessaloniki Concert Hall, ¤deon of Herodes Atticus, the ancient theatre ofáEpidaurus, at the United Nations and Lincoln Center of New York, and manyámore halls with very important orchestras. He has performed in concerts, asáwell as in world premieres and recordings of Greek composers' works. Hisátheatre credits include leading roles in ancient Greek and contemporaryáplays (National Theatre, Art Theatre, etc), while his cinema creditsáinclude films by Theo Angelopoulos, Lefteris Xanthopoulos, etc.
Nikos Kotenidis áMasetto
Greek baritone, he studied classical guitar and voice at the NationaláConservatory of Kozani. He continued his studies at the AthenaeumáConservatory and at the GNO Opera. He continued postgraduate studies at theáUniversity of Music and Theatre in Munich, and he was a member of theáensemble of the Klagenfurt State Theatre. He has sung such roles asáGuglielmo (Così fan tutte), Don Giovanni, Papageno ( Die Zauberflöte), Morales and Le Dancaire (Carmen), andLorenzo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi). He performed at the HungarianáState Opera gala with Piotr Beczała and Ferruccio Furlanetto (2014). He hasáperformed with the Symphony Orchestra of the Athens Municipality, theáAthens State Orchestra and the Munich Radio Orchestra.
Chrissa Maliamani áZerlina
Greek soprano, she studied voice at the New Conservatory of Thessalonikiáunder Varvara Tsambali and completed her postgraduate studies at theáWürzburg University of Music. Between September 2012 and July 2014 she wasáa member of the Ensemble of the Plauen-Zwickau Theatre in Germany. Recentlyáshe performed the title roles in Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Carlo Coccia's Caterina di Guisa, aswell as the roles of Leila (Les Pêcheurs de perles) and Eurydice ( Orphée aux enfers, Olympia Theatre). At the Greek National Opera(Stavros Niarchos Hall and Alternative Stage) she has sung such roles asáPamina (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro),áFrasquita (Carmen) and Maid (Powder Her Face).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Available on GNO TV from 14 February 2021
Recorded in the GNO Stavros Niarchos Hall at the Stavros NiarchosáFoundation Cultural Center on 10, 12 and 15 December 2020
Conductor: Daniel Smith
áDon Giovanni: Tassis Christoyannis
With the Orchestra and Chorus of the GNO
Tickets for the online streaming of Don Giovanni cost 10 eurosáand can be purchased onáááticketservices.gr/ená. With a 10-euro ticket viewers can enjoy this great opera productionáfrom the comfort of their homes at nationalopera.gr/GNOTV/en,áat any time they choose, on their computer, ipad, TV or mobile phones.áThe ticket offers the possibility to access the performance for anáunlimited number of times over the course of a 30-day period startingáfrom the first streaming.áá
The performance contains nudity
áLead Donor of the GNO / Don Giovanni donor
áStavros Niarchos Foundationá (áSNFá) [ááwww.SNF.orgáá]
GREEK NATIONAL OPERA