3rd Online festival “The Music of Language”
The hilarious operetta Sataneries by Theophrastos Sakellaridis, creator of The Godson, the most popular Greek operetta of all times, arrives to scandalise the audience of GNO TV.
March, 1930: the Great Depression had begun, the clouds over Europe were darkening. Three years before Hitler’s rise to power (and six years before Greek fascist dictator’s Ioannis Metaxas’ own coup), two new music theatre pieces were satirising the tense climate of the era through sarcastic twisting of the form of the moralistic educational play. The better-known of the two, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, a cheeky satire of capitalism and commodiﬁed bourgeois opera, had its premiere in Leipzig on March 9, and has been branded a “classic” ever since. However, few remember that, three days earlier, on March 6, the “Mondial” Theatre of Athens premiered a Greek play no less biting, melodic and pitiless: Sataneries, a “satirical phantasmagoria” by Theophrastos Sakellaridis (1883-1950), the greatest composer of Greek operetta.
A kind of perverse ﬂip-siding of Goethe’s Faust, Sataneries is a moralistic play that unashamedly declares… the superiority of Hell over the Christian Heaven and, as daringly and ironically as Mahagonny, sings the praises of modern amorality over traditional morality. Sakellaridis, on top form and adapting his own original idea, mixes romantic arias with folksongs, “rebetiko” songs, blues and foxtrots, satirizing the timeless impunity rampant in Greek society through the story of Andreas, a miserable and honest “everyman”, who chooses vice over virtue after receiving a personal guided tour to the hereafter by… Satan himself!
What happened, then, and Sataneries has since been forgotten, despite the “triumph”, “unbridled laughter” and “enthusiastic crowds” recorded by the press of the time? Nothing less than the total collapse of the reputation of Greek light musical theatre of the interwar period, rejected by a post-WWII Greek society eager to forget its past…
Very few excerpts from Sataneries were performed after the war, mostly by the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra in arrangements by Totis Karalivanos. The first complete post-war revival of the work was made by the Music Theatre Workshop of the Municipal and Regional Theatre of Patras at the Patras Roman Odeon on 10 June 2014, arranged and conducted by Kharálampos Goyós and directed by Alexandros Efklidis and Dimitris Dimopoulos.
The GNO Alternative Stage production restores for the first time the original orchestration of 1930. Directors Alexandros Efklidis and Dimitris Dimopoulos note: “Sakellaridis’ caustic humour spares neither gods nor demons! To stage a work set, in essence, in Heaven and Hell, is a wager which demands the right balance between comedy and metaphysics, between the sacred and the profane, the trivial and the sublime. Sataneries is a work of its time, seeking a second chance in ours.”
The production was included in the third cycle of the GNO Alternative Stage festival “Music Theatre Days”, dedicated to the treasures of Greek light music theatre.
Filmed at the GNO Alternative Stage at the SNFCC on 19 May 2019. Greek and English subtitles available.
"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.
Andreas, disappointed from the predicament he’s been led to by his honesty, asks Satan to come and take him… and so it is done! To convince himself that Andreas will indeed be his faithful follower, Satan first leads him to Heaven, so that he can decide for himself. In Heaven, however, life is not at all heavenly: eternity passes only with fasting and praying, something that makes many of its inhabitants long for Hell and escape, along with Andreas. Once in Hell, everyone discovers the pleasures of sin, and Andreas seals his loyalty to Satan by stealing money from the public treasury.
Music, libretto Theophrastos Sakellaridis
Conductor, restoration Kharálampos Goyós
Directors Alexandros Efklidis, Dimitris Dimopoulos
Set & costume designer Alexia Theodoraki
Choreographer Fotis Diamantopoulos
Lighting designer Christos Tziogkas
Music director of female vocal ensemble chórεs Marina Satti
Music coach of female vocal ensemble chórεs Eleni Pozatzidou
Collaborators in manuscript material digitising and reconstruction Myrto Adali, Lina Geronikou, Marietta Sarri, Marilena Souri
Satan Myrto Bocolini
Andreas Dimitris Nalbandis
Pamikos Ioannis Kavouras
Synapiko Maria Katrivesi
Xenokratis Kostis Rassidakis
Tsitsiplis Panos Zygouros
Leader of the spirits, Eleni Christina Asimakopoulou
Secretary Alina Kostovoulou
Chinese man, Virgin Theoni Fytrou
Beauty Danae Stergiou
Sin Georgia Zachariadi
Longing Georgia Karandinaki
Pleasure Eugenia-Evaggelia Chatzaki
With the participation of the female vocal ensemble chórεs
Theodora Iordanidou (flute)
Maria Sifnaiou (oboe)
Angelos Politis (clarinet)
Guido de Flaviis (saxophone)
Antonis Lagos (horn I)
Manos Ventouras (horn II)
Ioanna Ganiti (trumpet)
Spyros Vergis (trombone)
Theo Vazakas, Christina Matsatsini-Yfanti (percussion)
Pericles Timplalexis, Vaggelis Loutas, Maria Goutou (violins I)
Michalis Vrettas, Angeliki Potiri (violins II)
Eleftheria Togia (viola)
Michalis Giavris (cello)
Dimitris Tigkas (double bass)
Video recording, TV director, editing Xenofon Vardaros
English translation Kharálampos Goyós