The Greek National Opera’s 73-year history at the Olympia Theatre
comes to an end with the first work it performed in 1944.
In a highly symbolic move, the Greek National Opera is honouring its past
by presenting Spyridon-Filiskos Samaras important opera, Rhea,
which marked the Olympia Theatre as the Greek National Opera’s base on 1.4.1944,
conducted by Antiochos Evangelatos, with Mireille Flery in the lead role,
Nikos Glynos as Lysia and Titos Xirellis as Guarca.
Rhea was first staged in 1908 at the Teatro Verdi in Florence.
No reviews from that time survive. However, the congratulatory telegrams
from Puccini and Mascagni to Samaras indicate that it was a major success.
The work includes almost in its final version the hymn of the Olympic Games,
which Samaras had composed in 1896 for the first Olympic Games
of the modern age in Athens.
The opera tells the tale of the illicit love affair of Rhea
(wife of the Genoese governor Spinola) for the Greek athlete Lysia
on the island of Chios in 1400. Shortly before Rhea abandons Chios for Lysia,
Guarca who is also in love with Rhea, kills him and Rhea commits suicide.
Opera (in semi-staged format)
Conductor: Byron Fidetzis
Semi-staged production director-lighting supervisor: Nikos Diamantis
19 May 2017
Costumes: Giorgos Patsas
Chorus master: Agathangelos Georgakatos
Spinola: Dimitris Kassioumis
Rhea: Julia Souglakou
Daphne: Maria Mitsopoulou
Lysias: Yannis Christopoulos
Guarca, Venetian Commander: Kyros Patsalidis
A sailor: Nikos Stefanou
With the Greek National Opera Orchestra and Chorus