Paolo Carrer • Nikos Skalkottas


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The Greek National Opera commemorated the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821 with a tribute video featuring excerpts from Paolo Carrer’s Despo and Nikos Skalkottas’ Greek Dances, on Thursday 25 March 2021.

Excerpts from this new ambitious production was broadcast for the first time on GNO’s website and social media on 25 March 2021 at 20.00 [GMT +2]. The tribute video is prefaced by the Artistic Director of the GNO Giorgos Koumendakis, while the Head of the Dramaturgy Department of the GNO Nikos A. Dontas talks about the importance of the two emblematic works of the Ionian and National Schools of Music respectively.

The opera and dance diptych Despo – Greek Dances was filmed on 6 and 7 March 2021 and will be available on GNO TV at the beginning of May.


“Heroes would rather die than become slaves”, sings Despo a while before she blows up Dimoulas’ castle (Riniasa castle) at Zalongo, to end her own life and her family’s life, and to avoid surrendering to Ali Pasha’s Turkish army, in the last scene of the one-act melodrama Despo, the heroine of Souli. Ιt is Paolo Carrer’s (1829-1896) third opera, which was based on a Greek theme and labelled as the “first Hellenic tragic melodrama”, as it is the first Greek opera based on a Greek libretto. Despo was conducted by Yorgos Ziavras, directed by Yorgos Νanouris, with sets and costumes by Angelos Mentis and lighting by Alekos Yiannaros. The title role is performed by Artemis Bogri and alongside her sing Dimitris Paksoglou, Diamanti Kritsotaki, Yannis Selitsaniotis and the GNO Chorus.


The 36 Greek Dances for orchestra are considered to be Nikos Skalkottas’ most popular work, because of the way it transmutes the “national” element of Greek traditional music in the context of a modern but easy-to-grasp musical language. This classical milestone of modern Greek music is the basis for the collaboration of the GNO Ballet with two of Greece’s most distinguished choreographic forces, which explore, in their own special way, the relationship between the inherited national narrative with today’s time, two hundred years after the Greek Revolution that led to the formation of the modern Greek state. The first part, titled National Adulthood, is choreographed by Patricia Apergi, with sets by Dimitris Nassiakos, costumes by Patricia Apergi and Eirini Geοrgakila, lighting by Nikos Vlasopoulos, and sound design by Alex Drakos-Ktistakis. The second part, titled Finality, is choreographed by RootlessRootLinda Kapetanea and Jozef Fruček, with sets by Paris Mexis, costumes by Isabelle Lhoas, lighting by Perikles Mathiellis, and sound design by Christos Parapagidis.

The GNO Orchestra is conducted by Yorgos Ziavras.

With the participation of members of the Greek National Opera Ballet.

The production is placed under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

This production, part of a tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [].

Creative team – Cast

Despo • Paolo Carrer

Conductor Yorgos Ziavras
Director Yorgos Nanouris
Sets, costumes Angelos Mentis
Lighting Alekos Yiannaros
Chorus master Agathangelos Georgakatos

With Artemis Bogri, Dimitris Paksoglou, Yannis Selitsaniotis, Diamanti Kritsotaki

With the Orchestra and Chorus of the GNO


Greek Dances • Nikos Skalkottas

Conductor Yorgos Ziavras
With the Orchestra and members of the GNO Ballet

I. National Adulthood

Choreography Patricia Apergi
Artistic associate Eva Georgitsopoulou
Sets Dimitris Nassiakos  
Costumes Patricia Apergi, Eirini Georgakila
Lighting Nikos Vlasopoulos
Sound design Alex Drakos-Ktistakis
Video projection design Kleopatra Korai

Jovanka Zarić, Elena Kekkou, Margarita Kostoglou, Marita Nikolitsa, Areti Noti, Rina Shimada, Εleftheria Stamou, Zoi Schinoplokaki
Stelios Katopodis, Yannis Gantsios, Cristian Luce, Ángel Martínez Sánchez, Yannis Mitrakis, Elton Dimrochi, Thanassis Solomos, George Hatzopoulos


II. Finality

Choreography RootlessRoot – Linda Kapetanea, Jozef Fruček
Sets Paris Mexis
Costumes Isabelle Lhoas
Lighting Perikles Mathiellis
Sound design Christos Parapagidis

Elena Kekkou, Areti Noti, Marta Rivero de Miranda, Elpida Skourou, Rina Shimada, Zoi Schinoplokaki
Yannis Gantsios, Michalis Kriebardis, Ángel Martínez Sánchez, Yannis Mitrakis, Elton Dimrochi, George Hatzopoulos

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