Summer Nostos FestivalSummer Nostos Festival

Music

Medea

Staged Productions

June 27, 28, 2019, 20.00, Stavros Niarchos Hall GNO

Medea

Satirical cartoonist Bost’s parody of Medea, written in verse and based on Euripides’ play, has been revived in the form of an operetta by composer Nikos Kypourgos, following a commission by the Greek National Opera. Director Yannis Skourletis / bijoux de kant describes the show as “one big laugh that will envelop us all.”

The operetta is the flagship of the light musical theater, which developed alongside its older, serious cousin, the opera. In Greece, the operetta was a huge success, especially during the interwar period. As part of its Operetta Restart cycle, the Greek National Opera will present new operetta works with commissions by three distinguished Greek composers, in order to boost the creative renewal of the genre. Bost’s Medea opens this cycle and is expected to cause a sensation. It is a truly groundbreaking project. It is no coincidence that Bost was able to create a completely personal and distinctive satirical style as a cartoonist, a writer, a playwright, and a painter. His unorthodox use of the Greek language and his deliberately misspelled texts aimed to deconstruct the formal katharevousa and to establish the vernacular demotic.

Bost’s satire was aimed at the Greek petit bourgeoisie of the post-war decades; at stuffiness; at the nouveau riche; at the love of all things foreign; at the strong class contrasts of post-war Greece; and at Greek political life. The text of Medea, written in fifteen-syllable verse, is based on the well-known tragedy by Euripides, which Bost turns on its head with his scathing and topical viewpoint. He talks about a woman who wants to kill her children not to take revenge on Jason who is unfaithful to her, but because the children are lazy, dissolute, and thickheaded.

Nikos Kypourgos, a leading Greek composer who has won many awards in Greece and abroad, got his start from the legendary Lilipoupoli children’s radio show and has composed dozens of works for the theater and film, vocal music, orchestral music, chamber music, dance music, and songs. His works for the musical theater include Silence! The King Is Listening, a musical (commissioned by the Athens Concert Hall, 1995); Careful, the Prince Is Dirty, an opera ‘for children too’ (commissioned by the GNO, 2013); and Peace by Aristophanes, a musical comedy (commissioned by the National Theater, 2017).

Director Yannis Skourtetis says this about Medea: “The fifteen-syllable verse of Bost’s Medea, with its tears and laughter, could find the unbearable lightness of its morality only as an operetta. Slaughtered by a thousand woes herself, Medea tries to become a murderess but is incapable of killing—an utter failure. It is in this operetta of Medea that we've been playing for centuries, slaughterers and slaughtered, barbarians and natives, losers and winners. Medea the operetta is one big laugh that will envelop us all.”

Contributors
Lyrics: Nikos Kypourgos – Lena Kitsopoulou
Musical Direction: Ilias Voudouris
Direction: Yannis Skourletis / bijoux de kant
Sets-Costumes: Konstantinos Skourletis / bijoux de kant
Chorus Master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Children’s Chorus Mistress: Konstantina Pitsiakou
Medea: Julia Souglakou
Jason: Haris Adrianos
Monk: Dimitris Paksoglou
Nun: Marisia Papalexiou
With the Orchestra, Chorus, Children’s Chorus and soloists of the Greek National Opera