And while a couple of years ago, the variety and quantity of the scheduled productions and the opera/classical music performances for 2010 would only cause nagging and grouching, this time, and as Greece is goin' through one of the toughest financial situations of the last years, and with the Greek National Opera cancelling half its production for the 2009/10 Season due to a debt of 13 million €, plus the turbulance at the Megaron of Thessaloniki (the Artistic Director withdrew due to lack of public funding), performing-arts lovers in Greece sighed with relief with today's announcements.
Here's a selection of what I consider unmissable:
Classical music / opera
Haydn/Petrou - L'isola disabitata
Haydn's opera in a concert version under maestro George Petrou, June the 15th
William Christie - Trisha Brown, The Rameau Project
As we read on Trisha Brown Company's website, the Rameau Project will take place at the Athens Megaron on June 25 & 27 & 28 and will feature Brown's "L' Amour au theátre" and Rameau's Pygmalion (about to premiere in Amsterdam, a few days before the Athens performances)
"These performances will feature Trisha Brown's newest work, set to Jean-Philippe Rameau's "Pygmalion," along with "L'Amour au theatre TBDC dancers will be accompanied by Les Art Florissants, conducted by the renowned William Christie."
The Mahler Chamber Orchestra
with Fazil Say
under maestro Constantinos Carydis on July the 14th
(who we will be listening also in the ROH Carmen in June)
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra...
...under Danielle Gatti on June the 30th
(playing Wagner's Siegfried Idyll and Mahler's 5th as they will be doing a few days earlier at the Concertgebouw)
A production of Bellini's NORMA in a mise-en-scène of Yannis Kokkos and with Dimitra Theodossiou is still uncertain.
The most promising and expected productions seem to be:
Krzysztof Warlikowski's directing "Un Tramway", an adaptation of Tennessee William's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE currently playing at the Parisian Odéon starring Isabelle Hupert and on which we read:
Warlikowski’s brutal first 20 minutes seem designed to burn all of Hollywood’s mid-century realism off of the mental retina. He opens by placing the deranged Southern belle Blanche (Isabelle Huppert) on a stool in her underwear, groaning and convulsing like a junkie, while spitting her lines into a microphone and twisting her whole body into ghastly spasms.
She delivers the famous “they told me to take a streetcar named Desire” monologue as if she’s on the verge of vomiting, paralyzed in a hideous limbo, enclosed within a huge glass-and-steel box, stylized out of reality and, at the same time, made revoltingly physical. It’s awful for the first few minutes, then strangely enthralling. It wipes the palette clean of any Streetcar you might have imagined (and you wouldn’t be the only one: originally called Un Tramway nommé désir, the play’s title has been changed to Un Tramway after the Tennessee Williams Estate refused to allow Warlikowski to use the full title for his version).
The staging packs a punch. The adapted text has far less impact. Warlikowski awkwardly incorporates a vein of Greek tragedy, an eclectic set of fragments from Flaubert to Coluche and songs from Pulp to Renaissance courtly chant. Sung by Renate Jett as chorus/onlooker, these break up the already fragmented action and add to the general feeling of sterility and abstraction. The last interminable song tried the audience’s patience to the limits. “Have pity!” called one spectatorI Can't Wait!
The Schaubühne + Thomas Ostermeier
The Schaubühne visits Greece once again with a double bill: Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkmann and Othello, in a world premiere for the Ancient Theatre of the Epidaurus.
24-27 June (JG Borkmann) / 6-7 August (Othello)
Peter Stein / Dostoyevsky's The Demons
The 12-hour Stein marathon that won the 2009 UBU Award will hit Athens just a few days before hitting New York:
A 12-hour show with 30 actors staging, a pièce taken from a 950-page book worldly renowned as a masterpiece of literature: these are some of the numbers with which Peter Stein’s last masterwork introduces itself: THE DEMONS from Fedor Dostoevskij novel, performed as a workshop last may in the beautiful venue of San Pancrazio, a small ancient village in Umbria, in the Italian countryside, has already became part of the history of theatre. There’s no doubt: the great German director, known all over the world for having won on the stage of the Schaubüne in Berlin, and then in Italy where he lives since he got married to the Italian actress Maddalena Crippa, a lot of enormous challenges, is now achieving a new unexpected goal.
The Tanztheater Wuppertal of the late Pina Bausch in a Tribute to Bausch for 6 (!) performances and a double bill: Agua and Nefes
Full Schedule at the GreekFestival website that's gonna be up soon.