09 JANUARY 2020 / New Collaborations, New Commissions, and New Communications mark a New Era for the Greek National Opera

One year after announcing a €20 million Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) grant to support the Greek National Opera’s (GNO) artistic outreach and the promotion of its work abroad, the GNO shared a status update.

At a press conference held on Thursday, January 9, the GNO presented an overview of the first year, a roster of new initiatives and collaborations that will take place during the coming years, as well as a new major communication campaign which will be implemented in Greece and abroad. 

As part of the GNO’s artistic outreach, the SNF grant has supported partnerships with major foreign artists for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. International collaborators include Fanny Ardant, Milena, Canonero and the entire creative team that presented Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; La Fura dels Baus, who presented a new reading of Norma; and Olivier Py, director of the Festival d’Avignon, who will present Wozzeck in mid-January 2020.

The GNO’s artistic outreach plan also includes commissioning new productions. Through a GNO commission in collaboration with nonprofit organization NEON, internationally acclaimed Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos will create a program of visual installations as part of a three-year cycle, The Artist on the Composer. At the same time, the GNO’s international partnerships are further developing with organizations such as the Munich State Opera, London’s Royal Opera House and Paris’ Opéra Comique. In addition, the new SNF grant bolstered the GNO Ballet with eight new dancers, and scholarships to continue their studies abroad were awarded to top students.

The SNF grant supporting the GNO’s artistic outreach, also make possible a promotional campaign that will be rolled out in Greece and abroad, aimed at engaging international interest in the GNO’s new artistic outlook.

The launch of the new campaign, centered on the theme of birth, coincides with the 80th anniversary of the first GNO performance in 1940, celebrating the organization’s new philosophy, storied past, and creatively rich present. The idea behind the birth theme is clear: within the GNO, everyone—singers, musicians, dancers, chorus members, directors, technicians, costume and set designers—creates. On a daily basis, they bring original roles, direction approaches, performances, choreographies, sets, costumes, dreams, experiences, emotion into the world. At the same time, birth indicates the new: new ideas, a new mark, new directions that push the organization to go one step further.

During the presentation, SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos remarked, “One year ago, here in Stavros Niarchos Hall, we announced a new grant to the Greek National Opera (GNO) for an ambitious four-year plan of action. That plan aims to enhance the GNO’s outreach capacity and contribute to its development by continuing to invest in its people, its vision and ideas, its artistic perspective, and its promising future informed by a long history. A great deal has happened since then. In the intervening year, the GNO has grown its capacity and further cultivated its artistic vision, become more extroverted in outlook, opened up to new audiences, bolstered its staff, traveled beyond Athens. It has developed collaborations with important international cultural organizations like the Opéra Comique in Paris, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, and la Monnaie in Brussels, as well as creative synergies with distinguished and promising artists, and has spread its wings to the U.S. Today, the GNO unveiled a new communication campaign that will spotlight the caliber of its work in order to reach a public as broad as possible, within and beyond Greece. All of us at SNF offer our best wishes for the GNO in gaining the appreciation it merits amongst the world’s great opera companies.”