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SEEN AND HEARD NEWS ITEM
Pavlos Carrer (1829-1896), Marathon - Salamis:
Greek National Opera, 29., 30. and 31.10. and 2.11.2010 conductor : Byron Fidetzis
Among the many productions GNO is reviving this season, here is a particularly worthy one -
Pavlos Carrer's Marathon - Salamis, well worth a trip to the Greek capital!
This little known Greek opera, based on an Italian libretto by Memnon Martzokis, revolves around the ruse of Themistocles, who tricked the Persians into believing that the Athenians were giving up their city, only to brutally defeat them at sea in the battle of Salamis, interwoven with the tale of Persian dancer Fedima and her love for the Greek soldier Alessandro, was completed by Zakynthian composer Pavlos Carrer in 1861. He did not live to see his work performed on stage - because it was not premiered until 2003!, one of the numerous occasions on which many Athenians have felt deeply grateful for Byron Fidetzis’ contribution to the cause of Greek music (read more about him by clicking on the links below).
The upcoming performances are a rarity and not to be missed. Most opera aficionados are hardly aware that music like this was even being composed in 19th century Greece, and the fact that so much of it was lost is one of the most tragic chapters in the history of this country. “Marathon – Salamis” brings to mind the music of Donizetti, and even more so Ponchielli and early Verdi. Xerxes’ opening aria could be from “Attila” and the choruses are reminiscent of “Nabucco”, while many of the enthralling solo and ensemble scenes might be from “La Gioconda”.
The cast features two first-rate Greek baritones whose careers have taken off in Central Europe, Tassis Christoyannis and Kyros Patsalides, alternating in the role Themistocles, as well as rising star Tassos Apostolou as the High Priest. The sets and period costumes are beautiful and highly elaborate, and all of the musicians can be expected to be at their very best under the guidance of the man himself.
Further details available at: www.nationalopera.gr
Picture © Stefanos
Some Earlier reviews of Byron Fidetzis’ work have been
published by Musicweb International:
Concert Review: http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2006/jul-dec06/athens2212.htm