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Music theatre

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL AND JUST CASE: HAITI / GREECE / 1821

Konstantinos Chatzis

67'

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Description

Music theatre
World premiere • Commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage
Cycle “The Revolution Through the Eyes of the Other”

As part of the tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution

The new production Such A Beautiful and Just Case: Haiti / Greece / 1821 by Konstantinos Chatzis premieres on GNO TV, as part of the tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution. The work, which was filmed last spring without the presence of a live audience, will now be available to stream for free, exclusively via nationalopera.gr/GNO TV from 24 November to 31 December 2021, with Greek and English subtitles.

Konstantinos Chatzis stamps his mark on an evocative, atmospheric and poetic performance inspired by historical events that occurred 200 years ago, when one hundred Haitian volunteers set out on a long journey to fight on the side of the Greeks, bringing along five tonnes of coffee as economic support for the Struggle. Words and phrases from important texts are uniquely blended with compositions by Franz Liszt and Giorgos Koumendakis, traditional folk songs of Haiti, and vocal improvisations into a complete music theatre work of high aesthetic value, starring Lydia Koniordou in the extremely demanding role of the Black Angel.

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) ) [www.SNF.org].

The production was filmed without the presence of a live audience, taking all the necessary measures against COVID-19, on the Alternative Stage of the GNO at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on 9 and 10 April 2021. With Greek and English subtitles.

The Haitian Revolution, the biggest slave uprising since the age of Spartacus and the only one to lead to the foundation of an independent state as early as 1804, remains one of the most influential pages of world history: it dealt a decisive blow to colonialism, effectively radicalised the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution for enslaved populations and people of colour and made the leading figure of Toussaint Louverture into a global, timeless symbol of emancipation.

In one of the most moving, though less well-known episodes of the Greek War of Independence, Haiti became the first state to recognise the right of the Greek Revolution just a few months after its outbreak, through the correspondence of Haiti’s president Jean-Pierre Boyer with Greek scholar and activist Adamantios Korais – going as far as to send 25 tonnes of coffee and 120 Haitian volunteers for the support of the Greek struggle.

Based on this episode as well as on Franz Liszt’s groundbreaking Romantic composition Totentanz (Dance of the Dead), the new play by Konstantinos Chatzis deals with the urgent issue of multiculturalism in tandem with universal notions such as solidarity, liberation and self-determination of persons and peoples, charting, at the same time, an experimental soundscape of osmosis between song and speech via the techniques of vocal improvisation.

Trailer

At a glance – Synopsis

In a perpetual vortex between existence and non-existence, an old, wooden sailing ship hit by an enemy vessel carries a valuable cargo halfway across the world. She will never reach her destination. Her crew, Haitian volunteers going to fight in a just struggle, recollect the events through a repeated, fascinating narrative. In the haze created by the sea waves, their stories will intersect with those of a Greek who fought at Messolonghi as well as a French officer. In the victorious and secure arms of the Black Angel who hovers over human destiny, the four characters will find their voice and relate the universal values of liberty and solidarity, but also pain, war and death. They will be imbued with a warmth and an intimacy transcending the divisions of race and ethnicity and their narrative will turn into a poem and a song. In the aftermath of the revolutions, the vindication of peoples but also the great disappointment, the characters will find the strength to begin their personal struggle, again and again, a struggle connected to other struggles and rendered universal. Always subject to the watchful eye, commentary and pronouncements of the Black Angel, the one who rules the world.

Creative team – Cast

Text - Director: Konstantinos Chatzis
Dramaturgical work on the text: Antigoni Karali
Original idea, research, dramaturgy: Stella Papakonstantinou
Set designer: Artemis Flessa
Costume designer: Ioanna Tsami
Butoh coach: Ioanna Garagouni
Lighting designer: Stella Kaltsou
Filming, film editing: Konstantinos Arvanitakis

 

Death / Black Angel: Lydia Koniordou

Haitian Α΄: Vasilis Milionis
Haitian Β΄: Dimitris Tsiklis
Frenchman: Alexandros Psychramis
Greek: Mariam Rukhadze

 

Fotis Lamaris musician on stage
Theodore Tzovanakis piano

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