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Greek-American composer George Tsontakis at the GNO Alternative Stage in December | culture and arts, music

ATHENS – Air of Greece, a new musical play by Greek-American composer George Tsontakis, is the culmination of the alternative stage tribute of the Greek National Opera (GNO) to Lord Byron. Tsontakis, an award-winning creator well known for the rhetorical and communicative power of his music, will also host a three-day workshop for young composers at the GNO Alternative Stage at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens on December 20. -22, Broadway World reported on October 5.

The Air of Greece, commanded by the GNO, takes place on December 17 and 18, and presents a reconstruction of the Greek adventure of the poet: Byron arrives in Missolonghi in January 1824 and dies there three months later at the age of 36 years, after an intense period of courageous, albeit confused, involvement with the Greek War of Independence, of meditating on the onset of the middle age and its awareness of the impending end, of the visionary desire for heroic action as well as from the fiery passion for the warrior Lukas, 16 years old Chalandritsanos.

The composer stages Byron’s deathbed and sets out to restore the consciousness of the dying poet through a musical and textual synthesis of authentic historical documents (in Greek) and fragments of his poetic work (in English). Sung by a vocal ensemble that combines the functions of English madrigalists and Greek choir, the work juxtaposes the memory of the poet’s passionate and aristocratic youth to the chaotic war conditions he faced in revolutionary Greece, thus emphasizing the dimension transcendent of its ultimate, sublimely romantic abnegation on the altar of the ideal.

A sentimental as well as an ironist, a humanitarian as well as an animal lover, a man of ideas as well as passionate, a man of action as well as a sybarite, a lover of men as well as of people. women, “crazy, bad and dangerous to know”, Philhellene to the end (untimely) and, above all, a poet through and through, Lord Byron embodied in an exemplary way and like no other figure the enthusiasms, the achievements and the contradictions of the romantic movement. In an attempt to artistically convey an idea of ​​the scale of the work and the impact of this precursor of the modern figure of the superstar, the GNO Alternative Stage presents throughout 2021 a multifaceted tribute, proportional to an inexhaustible personality. who left behind, in just 36 years of life and in addition to 17 (!) volumes of poetry (opportune since its time to all kinds of dramatic and musical appropriation), a memorable political action, a slew of scandals and broken hearts as well as a reputation doomed to failure, one might say, to transhistoric as well as feverish mythification.

The homage to the GNO, organized by composer Alexandros Mouzas, crosses eras, genres and species of musical and theatrical discourse, covering a spectrum that extends from the recital (the Forgotten Hebraic Melodies, a collaboration between Byron and the musician Jewish Isaac Nathan in the spirit of the former’s romantic interest in endangered “ethnic” cultures; new musical frameworks of Byron’s innovative queer erotic poetry by three young composers) at the Greek Folk Shadow Theater. Predictably, most of the programming is devoted to contemporary musical theater: a dramatization of the letters of the poet of Greece by Mouzas; a multimedia tribute to Byron’s daughter and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace by Yannis Kyriakides and, at the end of the tribute, the new work by famous Greek-American composer Tsontakis, a treatment of Byron’s last days in Missolonghi.

Along with the production of his new musical theater piece The Air of Greece at the Alternative Stage, award-winning composer Tsontakis will host a three-day composition workshop for composers up to the age of 35.

Applicants can send the following material to the email address [email protected] before Monday, November 1:

– Two (2) works representative of their scores in pdf format. The scores can be accompanied by sound files (midi renderings acceptable)

– One (1) or two (2) works or extracts from works to be read / rehearsed by a live instrumental ensemble during the masterclass. The works to be rehearsed must be written for one (1) to five (5) musicians of the following configuration: flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, percussion, harp, piano, violin, cello. The total duration of the works to be rehearsed must not exceed six (6) minutes. It is understood that the “representative” works and the “to read” works may be the same.

– CV, with proof of date of birth.

Composers whose works are selected will be notified by the GNO Alternative Stage by the end of November.

For more information, send an e-mail to: [email protected]

Master class

Workshop for young composers with George Tsontakis, December 20-22, start of sessions at 11 a.m. at the GNO Alternative Stage-SNFCC, as part of the tribute to the 2021 bicentenary of the Greek Revolution, and with the participation of an instrumental ensemble.


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