Music theatre for young audiences
THE EMPEROR'S NIGHTINGALE
Patari Project | After Antonio Vivaldi’s THE FOUR SEASONS
Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a timeless masterpiece, a hymn to the natural cycle and the circularity of time, comes to GNO TV through an original “green” performance which was presented with great success by the GNO Alternative Stage.
The Four Seasons, one of the most popular pieces of baroque music, is brought to life on stage in a unique way through a music theatre performance touching major issues related to our attitude toward the environment and the dangers that threaten it. Subjects such as the reduction in the use of plastics, food waste and circular economy are presented to children in a playful and entertaining way, while developing their ecological awareness and artistic education.
The idea of recycling lies at the heart of this particular project’s concept which is targeted at children aged 6 to 96. Disposable goods, from plastic bags and bottles to plastic straws and gloves, are transformed into impressive costumes. The work is staged by the subversive theatre group Patari Project, under the guidance of the talented Sofia Paschou - a company whose performances have become a point of reference over the last years in the field of theatre for children and young audiences. Vivaldi’s original material was arranged and expanded by composer Nikos Galenianos, an artist with a significant presence in Greece and abroad, into a new orchestration which is combined with original instrumental and vocal interventions.
The production Four Seasons is a creative synergy between the Greek National Opera and Lidl Hellas and one more step in a collaboration that began already in 2008, when Lidl Hellas emerged as a sponsor of educational workshops of music, music theatre and artistic creation.
Filmed at the GNO Alternative Stage at the SNFCC on 13 December 2020. Greek, English and German subtitles available.
Inspired by the beauty of Mantua’s natural landscape in Northern Italy, Antonio Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons approximately three hundred years ago – perhaps the most famous work in the classical music repertoire. Four concertos for violin, in which the composer transforms the four seasons into notes. A highly popular work, The Four Seasons is a hymn to the alternation of seasons and the way they influence man and nature.
Likewise, in the production Four Seasons by Patari Project, the passing of each season moulds the story in a different way and leaves its own imprint on the passing of time itself. Spring, summer, autumn, winter… seasons succeed one another, recycling whatever it is that marks them. People welcome them but they’re never the same.
Since 2012, the year the Patari Project was founded, the group has always “played” with the concept of risk. Its members choose to work with the platform technique which in itself carries the challenge of accomplishing every single time something that at first seems impossible: to be able to tell a story on a portable stage platform, called “patari” in Greek, where actors barely fit and where they are called upon every time to find a way to create images, rythms, landscapes, characters, scenarios entire worlds with their bodies and voices.
Similarly, in the GNO Alternative Stage production Four Seasons, Patari Project mount the four seasons on a platform, in a plain, circular set symbolizing the world. Will they fit in there along with the performers and the musicians? How much can they change in every spin? The music begins and the seasons start going by, taking children and adults on a magical journey full of humorous and unexpected happenings, reversals and surprises.
Composer Nikos Galenianos notes about his new arrangement: “The Four Seasons need no introduction. We meet them again here, in a bold orchestration with just five musical instruments, in search of a new chemistry. The sounds of a small baroque ensemble and an accordion not only intend to convey the original musical lines, but also to renegotiate the overall sensation caused by the work, based on the particular traits of this new mix. The seasons, sometimes deconstructed, along with the original instrumental and vocal music interventions do not just co-exist with the performance; they are an indispensable part of it, they are the breath itself that allows the actors-seasons to continue to exist.”
Arrangement, original music Nikos Galenianos
Director Sofia Paschou
Dramaturg Juan Ayala
Set designer Evangelia Therianou
Costume designer Claire Bracewell
Choreographer Annie Pui Ling Lok
Lighting designer Sofia Alexiadou
Artistic associate Ioanna Trikene
Spring Alexis Vidalakis, Katerina Mavrogeorgi
Summer Yannis Yannoulis, Stefi Poulopoulou
Autumn Theodosis Konstas, Erifyli Stefanidou
Winter Apostolis Psychramis
Alexis Mastichiadis (harpsichord)
Konstantinos Zigkeridis (accordion)
Yannis Agraniotis (violin)
Alexis Karaiskakis (cello)
Dimitris Tigkas (double bass)
Video recording, TV director, editing Konstantinos Arvanitakis
English translation Angeliki Boura
German translation Martin Scharnhorst
Starting from the ceaseless circle of life and environmental destruction, we created a performance related to people’s incessant need to try to impose themselves on nature, change the order of things and be the ones who define the rules. Music, placed at the starting point of everything, gives birth to the heartbeat. After all, everything is rhythm and movement. Each note is a breath of air. We placed music at the centre of the circle, and the seasons in their natural course around it. While experimenting, everything ended up as a game. The game brought forth winning and winning brought forth the need of people to be seen as better or more powerful than others. By building this game, we reached the point where one is helpless before oneself and one's ego. We saw how easy it is to give orders, to insult, to arbitrarily change the rules, to impose our own desires. It is difficult to talk about concepts like the planet and its destruction; it would be easy to become didactic and hard to say something of substance. We invented characters who experience everything in an exaggerated way, an enlarged frame of human nature. Through this pattern of exaggeration, incessant movement and flow of pictures and sounds, a multilevel construction emerges, with which everyone is free to identify in any way they want.
— Sofia Paschou