Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Festival of the Aegean!

This is not La Scala, nor Bussetto! It's the Piccola Scala of the island of Syros. The Theatre is situated at the capital of Syros called Ermoupolis which is also the capital of the Cyclades. This wonderful theatre used to host opera for aaaages and the past few years there has been a revival of Opera on the island with the Festival of the Aegean.
Copying from the official website:


the Capital of the Aegean Sea

Ermoupolis, the "Queen of the Cyclades," is the capital of the island of Syros, the center of the Aegean Sea and a city of unique history and architecture. The city stands on a naturally amphitheatrical site over one of the biggest and safest ports of Aegean, with neoclassical buildings, old mansions, marble and stone-paved streets, squares, churches, mausoleums, and white-washed houses on the surrounding hills, cascading down to the harbor. A monumental Town Square and the historic Apollo Theater are the main features at the center of town, with numerous other important buildings surrounding them. The City Hall, where Miaoulis Square lies ringed with cafes and with seating areas under palm trees, has a grandeur all of its own. The "City of Hermes" has numerous magnificent churches, the most interesting of which are Metamorphosis, Koimisis, St. Demetrius, Three Hierarchs, Anastasis, Evangelistria and St. Nicolas. The Archaeological Museum has a collection of notable finds and the Municipal Library contains numerous interesting and rare editions. The quarter of the town known as Vaporia, where the sea captains lived, is of special interest. Along its narrow streets stand numerous neo-classical mansions.

Ermoupolis enjoys a unique history as well. The city was built from scratch from 1821 to 1825 when thousands of refugees fled the eastern islands of the Aegean and Asia Minor, as a result of the Greek War of Independence. Very soon the city was the most important of the new free state, with a thriving commercial, industrial and shipping sector and a population of over 25,000 people, by far the biggest city of Greece of the time. The name of the city was decided in a early referendum to honor Ermis (Hermes), ancient Greek god of commerce.

And regarding the theatre:

The annual Festival of the Aegean takes place at the Apollo Municipal Theater, aka "La Piccola Scala" (it was modeled on the Milanese landmark, although other influences are clear as well), in Hermoupolis, the main town of the island of Syros. The building was constructed in 1862-1864 (architect P. Sampo) by a share company and accommodated the first theatrical performance, La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti, on October 3, 1864.

The theater was the "home" for hundreds of resident Italians who came for months each summer from Venice and Milano on their way to the Far East. Syros was the midpoint. After the theater was built more and more Italians would stay longer and longer on this beautiful island, and opera performances occurred each summer—Tosca, Il Trovatore, La Boheme, to name a few. Theatrical productions and recitals aso occurred from the 1850s to the early 1900s.

The Italian residents, in the early 1900s, departed the island never to reutrn. The theater was then taken over by the resident Greeks who turned it into a movie house until the early 1960s, after which time it was closed for some forty years until the renovation was concluded in the late 1990s.

The theater was badly damaged by an air raid bombing in 1944 and subsequently fell into disuse. Further, it was to become a target for the military junta who took power in Greece two decades later. With philistine zeal, they determined to eradicate any foreign influence, removing paintings, original boxes and galleries, leaving the theater in a sorry state. Reconstruction work began in the 1980s, and the theater was reopened in July 2000: The velvet seats are back, the ceiling paintings are impressive, and with them a sense of grandeur has returned. Today four levels of boxes oversee the wooden stage with a width of 18 meters, depth of 9 meters.
The first opera performance in the Apollo—after a hundred years of no opera performances—was Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, produced by the Festival of the Aegean, Peter Tiboris conductor, on July 14 2005.

So, what's on this year at the Piccola Scala of Syros? Ooooh, it seems that this year we have a special guest, the amazing Jennifer Larmore!

Festival of the Aegean 2007:
Great Music and Theater in a Great Place

Island of Syros, in the Cyclades, Greece
Apollo Municipal Theater “La Piccola Scala”

July 11, 2007 – Gala Opening of the Festival
Peter Tiboris,
The Bohuslav Martinů Philharmony (Czech Republic)
Irini Tsirakidis, soprano

Verdi: Overture to La Forza del destino
Beethoven: “Ah, Perfido!”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

July 12, 13, 15, 2007
Peter Tiboris,
Carol Castel, Stage Director
The Bohuslav Martinů Philharmony (Czech Republic)
Eilana Lappalainen, soprano
Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano
Todd Geer, tenor
William Powers, bass-baritone

Mascagni: Zanetto (Greek Premiere)
Sylvia - Eilana Lappalainen, soprano
Zanetto - Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano

Opera Highlights
Verdi: “Ella giammai m’amo!” from Don Carlo
Ponchielli: “Cielo e mar” from La Gioconda
Verdi: “Dio che nell’alma infondere” (The Friendship Duet) from Don Carlo
Verdi: “Ritorna vincitor!” from Aida
Bellini: “In mia man alfin tu sei” from Norma
Cilea: “Acerba voluttà” from Adriana Lecouvreur
Rossini: “Oh, che muso” from L’italiana in Algeri
Donizetti: “Dio, che mi vedi in core,” “Al par del mio,” “Va, infelice, e teco reca” from Anna Bolena
Verdi: “Libiamo, ne’lieti calici” from La Traviata

July 14, 2007 – Vienna Night in Syros
Gerhard Track,
Guest Conductor
The Bohuslav Martinů Philharmony (Czech Republic)
Melody Kielisch, soprano
Giorgio Aristo Mikroutsikos, tenor
Musical selections by Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár, Robert Stolz and Emerich Kálmán

July 17, 2007 – Gala Recital for Voice and Piano
Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano
William Powers, bass-baritone
Norman Dunfee, piano
Raymond Hughes, piano

July 18 and 19, 2007 — Shakespeare at the Apollo
Full production in English with Greek Surtitles of
Romeo and Juliet
Presented by Aquila Theatre Company of New York
Peter Meineck, Artistic Director

Fellas, jump on the first boat leaving from Piraeus and in a couple of hours you will find yourselves on one of the most precious islands of the Aegean, relaxing on the beach, eating great traditional food and watching Jennifer Larmore every single night! For more info, visit the official website of the Festival of the Aegean or this site for info on the island of Syros and this for a Syros photo gallery


Gloriana said...

Apisteyto! Den eixa idea oti ypirxe Festival ekei to kalokairi.

TO theatro giati den exei kanoniki liriki season?

Giati arage?

ps. Parsi thanks re gia tin afaireseis ton... grifon!!!

Anonymous said...

Kathe poli kai theatro kathe horio kai opera. Etsi pou pame tha to kleisoume to Bayreuther Festspiele kai to Salzburg....

farinelli said...

Η Σύρα, όπως την λένε αλλιώς, τυγχάνει να έχει πολιτισμό και ακμή, με περιόδους δύσκολες και 'εύκολες', από αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων. Το σημαντικότερο όμως είναι η ακριβής γεωγραφική της θέση. Το 19ο αιώνα, ήταν κάτι σαν το Ελ. Βενιζέλος, για τα πλοία της Ευρώπης, και όχι μόνο. Έγινε το big apple για πολλούς Έλληνες από παντού, και απέκτησε πρώτη όλη την τεχνολογία και τον σύγχρονο, 'αστικό' τρόπο ζωής... και βέβαια απέκτησε όλα αυτά τα τα αυθεντικά, ας πούμε νεοελληνικά, υπέροχα κτίρια του 'ρομαντικού νεοκλασσικισμού' που συνδυάστηκαν τόσο όμορφα με το μεσαιωνικό και συγχρόνως γνήσιο Κυκλαδίτικο τοπίο της Άνω Σϋρου. Για το θέατρο Απόλλων, δεν ξέρω πολλά, παρά μόνον ότι ήκμασε την περίοδο 1830-1860 και φυσικά, τώρα, στον ερχομό της νέας χιλιετίας, που γνώρισε δόξες και πάλι με τη φίλη μας την Άλμα!.... Glory, το θέατρο που είχε όχι μόνο μόνιμη (αλλά και έκτακτη και παράλληλη και δεν ξέρω'γω τι άλλο ακόμα) λυρική season, για πάααρα πολλά χρόνια, ήταν το θρυλικό Σαν Τζάκομο στην Κέρκυρα, που ανατινάχτηκε από τους Ιταλούς, στο τέλος, αν δεν κάνω λάθος τη χρονολογία, του τελευταίου Πολέμου. Έχω ακούσει ότι αυτό το θέατρο ήταν τόσο μοναδικό (όχι μόνο το κτίριο και το αρχείο, αλλά και το management και φυσικά το απίστευτο αυτό κοινό) που άξιζε όσο ένα standard λυρικό θέατρο της Ευρώπης και κάτι παραπάνω... Επειδή δεν ξέρω λεπτομέρειες, ας μας πει κάποιος....

KalliopiD said...

Oh Fari, eyxaristw gia thn wraia yperbolh(!) Kathws trigyrnusame aytes tis meres sto nhsi, symfwnhsame sxedon oloi oti kallista tha mporusame na menume monima sthn Ermupolh...Kati filoi mas de pu einai ekei diorismenoi zoun san se paramythi...

Anonymous said...

To theatro Apollon ligo diskolo na akmase to diastima 1830-1860 afou opos anaferei to episimo site kataskeyastike metaxi ton eton 1862-64...Kathe prospatheia pandos stin dimiourgia aksioprepon operatikon paragogon ine themiti alla to "Festival Aigaiou" ehei akomi poli dromo na kanei. Pados enas sindiasmos krouazieras kai parasaseos Operas akougetai ondos deleastikos.

Willym said...

what an incredibly beautiful theatre... you've given me a great idea for next years vacation - we'll be living in Rome and let's admit it its only a quick plane ride to Athens and then onward. It sounds wonderful.

Are you going?

Anonymous said...

Dear willym, if you are planing on living so close to Greece from next year I would suggest to you the Athens Festival that for the last 2 years has performed miracles.