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Opera

ANTHONY'S DEATH

Kharálampos Goyós • Six free streaming broadcasts

122'

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Description

World premiere / Commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage

Six free streaming broadcasts on 23, 30 May & 6, 13, 20, 27 June 2021

Stream starts at 9pm*
* After streaming starts, the show will be available on-demand for 24 hours


Anthony's Death
, Kharálampos Goyós' latest work, an outrageous, iconoclastic “opera of the absurd”, arrives on GNO TV for six free streaming broadcasts on Sundays 23, 30 May & 6, 13, 20, 27 June 2021 at 9pm. The production, on a libretto by Yannis Filias and Kharálampos Goyós based on the memory of the Japanese anime TV series Candy Candy and on the writings of Slavoj Žižek, is staged by noted director Dimitris Karantzas in his first collaboration with the Alternative Stage.

Anthony's Death is an exciting contemporary opera dedicated to all boys ashamed to admit that they cried while watching Candy Candy; a weird, psychoanalytically-inspired “infernal machine” in which the legacy of the aforementioned Japanese anime TV series provocatively meets the thought of the notorious Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, occasioned by the memory of a fall that traumatised an entire generation.

A co-production with the music theatre company “The Beggars’ Operas”.

This production and the creation of GNO TV are made possible through a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] that supports the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.

Filmed on the GNO Alternative Stage at the SNFCC on 3 & 5 March 2021. Greek and English subtitles available.


— How did you sleep?
— Fine. I dreamt that I was Van Gogh.
— I didn’t sleep a wink. I was thinking of Anthony.

Two men, stuck in a clearing out of Dante or Heidegger, smugly indulge in the pleasures of speech and are faced with trauma, fantasy, the death drive, repetition compulsion, their fear of woman and their omnipresent narcissism – with intermediate stops at the Epistles of St Paul, the Seminars of Jacques Lacan and the hit songs by Ruslana and Eleni Dimou. Their obsessional, unstoppable discourse is shot through with insistent questions: Does Woman exist, or not? Why is “fox” written with a lowercase initial in Greek, though with an uppercase initial in German? And most of all: Why did we cry so hard when Anthony Brown, Candy’s blond boyfriend, fell from his horse at the end of that fatal, twenty-fourth episode in the mid-’80s?

Anthony’s Death, a conceptual chamber opera in the tradition of the Verdian “opera of intentions” (as well as, at the same time, an oblique satire of the fake fashion for the neo-baroque), sets out to articulate the insecurities and anxieties of a generation raised on VHS, Dynasty and Chernobyl, and eternally confronted with the spectre of an impending (financial, ecological, geopolitical, health-related…) catastrophe that haunts our dreams – until the inevitable, self-destructive finale: “We have all fantasised our own funerals”.

Eminent Greek composer and conductor Kharálampos Goyós presents an extremely personal work. He notes: “Yannis Filias and I conceived Anthony during the afterglow period of the victorious Euro tournament, the Olympics and the Eurovision Song Contest of 2004-2005, at a time when suburban maisonettes were rising in Athens and public opinion dictated that Greece was at the apex of its glory and the future was bright. We were then two young men who shared, apart from our operatic learning, the same sensitivity to the disquieting undertow of the era. So, one night, we decided to creatively unload our uneasiness on a cartoon idol of our childhood and return to the trauma that had marked our generation twenty years earlier In the mid-1980s, a Japanese anime soap opera called Candy Candy afforded today's fortysomethings an unforgettable event. At the end of the twenty-fourth episode, Candy's blond boyfriend fell from his horse during the foxhunt and was instantly killed, plunging the heroine in gloom and us young, privileged viewers, in bewilderment: Can life indeed be so cruel, so unjust? Can it strike so abruptly? Is nothing we love secure? The trauma of Anthony's death and Candy's devastating lament over his fallen body haunted our generation's imaginary, and is still often discussed as the ancestral matrix of whatever psychic wounds or insecurities torment us.


"MUSIC THEATRE DAYS" is part of the framework of the Act "GREEK NATIONAL OPERA ALTERNATIVE STAGE FESTIVAL PRODUCTIONS" (MIS 5004053), under the code 2017ΕΠΑ08510107, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by national funds.


Trailer

At a glance – Synopsis

Sergius and Paulus, two men brought up in the ’80s, find themselves in a forest clearing during a foxhunt, carrying their shotguns. They have separated themselves from the main hunting party. Hunting horns can occasionally be heard in the woods, just out of reach. It is clear that the men are staking a lot on the outcome of the hunt; nevertheless, they spend most of their time in idle talk. Sergius is writing a play, in which Paulus expects to play the lead; the play’s title is Anthony’s Death and it relates the tale of Anthony's fatal fall from his horse, also during a foxhunt. The two men ambitiously look forward to finding the fox (gendered as female in Greek), which takes more and more fantastical forms in their imaginations; they start referring to her as “the Red One”, and imagine plentiful rewards for catching their projected booty: fox skin boots, a trip to Ukraine, membership in exclusive clubs…

Their idealised talk of “the Red One” leads presently to a discussion of stereotypical Lacanian topics, such as the non-existence of Woman and the definition of the objet petit a (the men taking their cue from the Greek word for “fox”, alepou, which is written with a lowercase “a” – unlike “Woman”, or the German Fuchs). They later have a picnic, take a nap and carry on with the talk.

Progressively, in a series of shocking parapraxes, the men start shooting at, and wounding, each other. Their inadvertent and traumatic actions lead the men to a consideration of St Paul’s concept of sin as “doing what [they] hate to do”, and their bloody wounds suggest to them the notion that the true location of the Red One is not outside, but inside themselves; therefore, taking shots at each other is appropriate to their goal, namely to externalise the fox / Woman “hiding within”.

At last, the discussion comes to the traumatic dimension of Anthony’s fall and death for males of their generation. They talk about how VCR technology allowed them to relive the trauma in a continuous circle of enjoyment, as they watched and re-watched the scene on video during their childhood in the ’80s. What they now realise is that they wanted Anthony dead all along, identifying with him in an endless thanatophiliac loop. The realization leads them to a frenzied, orgasmic re-enactment of the “primal scene” from Candy Candy; the two men ride their shotguns like horses and take turns pretending to be Candy and Anthony, respectively screaming in over-the-top horror and falling to their “death” from their imaginary mounts…

Creative team – Cast

Music Kharálampos Goyós
Libretto Yannis Filias, Kharálampos Goyós (based on the memory of the TV series Candy Candy and the writings of Slavoj Žižek)

Conductor Kharálampos Goyós
Stage director Dimitris Karantzas
Set designer Artemis Flessa
Costume designer Ioanna Tsami
Lighting designer Alekos Anastasiou
Electronics programming Panos Iliopoulos

Music coaches Christos Sakellaridis, Nicolas Vassiliou
Assistant director Manos Petrakis
Assistant costume designer Ifigeneia Daoudaki

Paulus Georgios Iatrou
Sergius Vassilis Kavayas
The Red One Marissia Papalexiou

Alexandros Drymonitis (electric guitar)
Iason Marmaras (harpsichord)
Dionisis Vervitsiotis (violin I)
Vanessa Athanasiou (violin II)
Eleftheria Togia (viola)
Angelos Liakakis (cello)
Yiorgos Arnis (double bass)

Kostas Siskos, Angelos Sioras (natural horns – pre-recorded)
Spyros Arkoudis, Sofia Siora (natural trumpets – pre-recorded)
Theo Vazakas (percussion – pre-recorded)

Video director, post-production Konstantinos Arvanitakis
English translation Helena Grigorea

Director's note

Two boys’ attachment to the ’80s, Candy Candy and the fall of Anthony – the young blond beloved who died an inglorious death, falling from his horse. His fall defined them forever. In an artificial garden in full bloom, during hunting, the two friends write a play about this fall, face the hunt for the fox, the hunt for inspiration, the hunt for Woman (with a capital “W”), the hunt for ideas. A journey through sexuality, through the past that defines the present, the woman who is inside us and the denial of adulthood. The clearing as a site of freedom, where the two friends will come in contact with the existential void, their deep love, the eroticism between them and an innocence they want to keep alive at all costs. Amid gunshots, galloping, transformations and picnics among the flowers.

— Dimitris Karantzas

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