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Opera

ANDREA CHÉNIER

Umberto Giordano

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Description

The life of the famous French poet André Chénier (1762-1794) was the subject of the most successful opera of Umberto Giordano –one of the most representative exponents of operatic verismo, and in particular of the Giovane Scuola. The opera was set to a libretto by Luigi Illica and premiered at La Scala, Milan, on 28 March 1896, a century after the French Revolution. The French Revolution –whose ideas decisively affected the developments in Greece that gave rise to the 1821 Revolution– is also the period in which the action is set.  

The hero who bears the name of the opera’s title was born in Istanbul to a French father and a Greek mother. We first meet him in 1789 in the Parisian aristocracy circles supporting the French Revolution and joining the revolutionary movement along with Gérard. Gérard (a role based in part on the French Revolution hero Jean-Lambert Tallien) turns from a servant of aristocrats into a leading figure of the Sans-culottes, namely the people from the lower strata of the bourgeoisie who were actively involved in the revolutionary political struggle (sans-culottes means “those without breeches” – because in contrast to the aristocrats who wore knee-breeches [culottes], they wore trousers). However, their love for the same woman turns the friendship between the two men into a rivalry. Three years later, when Chénier gets arrested as a conspirator against the Revolution for decrying the atrocities committed under the Reign of Terror, Gérard is the one who will prepare the indictment against him. Although he will later realise his mistake and try to set the poet free, his effort will be in vain, and Chénier will be led to the guillotine.  

On the title page of the score we read: “Drama in a historical setting…”, and indeed, through his music, Giordano brings out not only the love element and passions of his heroes, but also the conflict between the rivaling social groups and the atmosphere of the era of the French Revolution: the gavotte –typical aristocratic dance– is contrasted with Ça iraLa Carmagnole and La Marseillaise. 

The timeless values portrayed in the opera –the French Revolution motto for Liberty, Equality, Fraternity–, combined with the intense love and dramatic elements highlighted through Giordano’s enchanting music, is the reason why Andrea Chénier has been so appealing to opera audiences to this day. 

 

Filmed at the Stavros Niarchos Hall on January 28th & 30th 2021 

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

Lead Donor to the GNO and the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution Stavros Niarchos Foundation 

 

  

 

Creative team – Cast

Conductor Philippe Auguin
Staging
Nikos Petropoulos 
Revival director 
Ion Kessoulis
Choreographer 
Fausta Mazzucchelli
Choreography revival, movement
 Stratos Papanoussis
Lighting revival
 Christos Tziogkas
Chorus master 
Agathangelos Georgakatos  


Andrea Chénier 
Marcelo Álvarez
Carlo Gérard
 Dimitri Platanias 
Maddalena di Coigny 
Maria Agresta 
Bersi 
Marissia Papalexiou
La Contessa di Coigny 
Ines Zikou 
Madelon 
Julia Souglakou 
Roucher 
Yanni Yannissis 
Pietro Fl
éville / Schmidt Vangelis Maniatis 
Fouquier-Tinville 
George Mattheakakis 
Mathieu 
Kostis Rassidakis 
An Incroyable
Christos Kechris 
The Abbé
Nicholas Stefanou 
Master of the household Marinos Tarnanas 
Dumas 
Konstantinos Mavrogenis 

With the Orchestra and Chorus of the GNO 

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