ATHENS – Resurrections are sacred events, whether or not of an explicitly religious character. The first international performance of the opera “Markos Botsaris” at the Veakeio Municipal Theater in Piraeus on October 7 brought to life both the musical work of art itself and the hero of the Greek revolution it represents.
In an opera, the musical wizards who raise the dead are the lead singers and Giannis Selitsaniotis, baritone of the Greek National Opera, and international soprano Eleni Calenos add their magic to the starry night. But the event also revealed that academics at the National and Capodistrian University’s School of Philosophy (NCU) – the university co-hosted the show with the Attiki regional government – were also magicians while ‘they rediscovered and restored work “lost” for 150 years.
Selitsaniotis ‘voice skillfully conveyed Markos’ subtle blend of steel – facing enemies of his people and facing almost certain death – with a tender longing for his loving wife and dear children. Asked by his brother Kostas, who called on Markos’ wife and children, not to attack the Turks, Markos said he was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and the nation.
Her thrilling voice and acting skills mingling with the exquisite lighting of the stage, Calenos was radiant as she sang of Chrysi’s equally passionate devotion to her people and Markos when he risked his life to see her. one more time. Telling Markos that while she and her nation need him, Chrysi has agreed with Kostas that his family needs him more – but Markos doesn’t give in.
The national herald
Markos went ahead with the planned attack on Karpenisi, his Souliotes largely outnumbered by the Albanians. A pro-French veteran of the Napoleonic Wars and an excellent strategist – he was posthumously awarded the rank of general by Greece – Markos inflicted heavy losses on the enemy camp, but was killed with a bullet in the head.
The musical drama composed by Nikolaos Metaxa-Tzani presents the end of the brief life of the leader of the Souliotes of Epirus, a region which has suffered for a long time and which was animated by the spirit of Greek independence before, during and after the war that began in 1821. Since Epirus could not reach Greece until 1912, the musical and artistic works of generations after 1821 were essential to keep hope alive. The composer’s native Cephalonia was still more than 10 years from its own independence when the opera was first performed in 1854, an indication of the passion that motivated his setting to music from the libretto by Georgios Lagouidaras of Zakynthos, also a decade from the release.
Indeed the lyrics – the sung lyrics were in Italian, translated into surtitles above the stage, while the narration was in Greek – ‘Liberta!’ and âEleftheria! ” – Freedom! rang frequently. The amphitheater resonated and the hearts of the audience were moved by both the theme and the performances of the musicians.
The national herald
The audience was also delighted by the fine performances of the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mixed Choir of the Division of Musical Studies of the School of Philosophy of the NCU conducted by Nikos Maliaras, president of the orchestra and professor of musicology at the University of Athens.
The opera was conducted by Isidoros Sideris and the singers included Stamatis Beris, Dionisios Melogiannidis, Giorgos Papadimitriou, Barbara Biza and Michalis Kalambokis, wonderful as a narrator.
The Veakeio, an excellent modern evocation of an ancient theater, faces the Athenian Riviera – the coast stretching from Piraeus to Cape Sounion – and noble Mount Ymittos, with the lights of the towns of Attiki twinkling in between. It was an exciting setting for some of the most dramatic and romantic scenes of the Greek Revolution.