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Agnes Baltsa reunites with Stavros Xarchakos April 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Internationally renowned Agnes Baltsa is scheduled to interpret Greek songs at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday.

“Songs of My Country” will be revived at the Athens Concert Hall this week, under the tutelage of the internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa along with prominent composer Stavros Xarchakos.

The concert, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, is the outcome of a long-term collaboration between the two artists, essentially a production of songs by Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Xarchakos and Vassilis Tsitsanis, featuring Baltsa, accompanied by the State Orchestra of Hellenic Music. The concert also serves as a trailer for a revamped re-edition of a first recording on the project, initially recorded by Deutsche Grammophon back in 1986.

During a press conference in Athens last week, Baltsa talked about the difficulties which arise when it comes to interpreting songs which have been described as the “gospel” of a nation. “I sing with great fear and respect, with a sense of responsiblity as much as joy,” noted the mezzo-soprano.

Proceeds from Thursday evening’s event at the Megaron will go to the Agapi Charity Organization.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333.


Agnes Baltsa to perform Rossini at the Megaron March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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“L’Italiana in Algeri” opens tomorrow at the Athens Concert Hall’s Alexandra Trianti Hall

At the Athens Concert Hall, Gioachino Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri” has been revived by Diana Kienast, based on a landmark 1987 mise en scene by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

This year is a landmark for the famous Greek mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa as it marks an anniversary: In 1968, she made her first appearance as Cherubino in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” at the Frankfurt Opera House. That was the beginning of a great career. Her collaborations with top maestro Herbert von Karajan, who described her as the greatest dramatic mezzo-soprano of her time, and her numerous performances of “Carmen”, mostly alongside Jose Carreras, are just some of her many great moments.

Baltsa has a special relationship with Gioachino Rossini’s opera buffs, having appeared in leading roles in his “Barber of Seville”, “La Cenerentola” and “L’Italiana in Algeri” – the latter of which she is preparing to perform at the Athens Concert Hall. Tomorrow, as well as on March 17, 19 and 21, the Alexandra Trianti Hall will host “L’Italiana in Algeri”, in a production in which Diana Kienast will revive Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s historical mise en scene. Ponnelle’s 1987 production featured Baltsa and Ruggero Raimondi in the leading roles under acclaimed maestro Claudio Abbado. Ponnelle also left his signature on the sets, lighting and the costumes, as the great artist viewed the staging of the famous opera as an entire work of art.

13-03-08_agnes_baltsa.jpg  “The role of Isabella is one of the greatest roles of my career” said Baltsa at a recent press conference. “But every time feels like the first time. It is like a wager with myself, to see how my voice has changed through the years. Rossini demands great vocal discipline”.

“L’Italiana in Algeri” premiered in Venice on May 22, 1813. It was the first opera, along with “Tancredi”, that earned Rossini international fame. Based on a libretto by Angelo Anelli, the opera follows Elvira’s romantic adventures at the palace of the Turkish Bey of Algiers. It has a craziness highly indicative of Rossini’s comic operas.

The Athens Concert Hall production will further feature baritone Lorenzo Regazzo, tenor Mario Zeffiri, baritone Renato Girolami and soprano Vassiliki Karayianni, who recently performed in Rossini’s “Le Compte Ory” with the Greek National Opera, among others. The Athens State Orchestra will participate, under the baton of Antonello Allemandi.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333.

Related Links > http://www.megaron.gr

‘Cultural Year of Greece in China’ debuts September 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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Beijing will be host to an ambitious year-old series of events, entitled “Cultural Year of Greece in China” through the autumn of 2008, featuring various aspects of Greece’s modern culture and kicking off on at the end of this month with a concert in memory of opera diva Maria Callas.

The series of events officially begin on October 19 with performance of Greek composer Stamatis Spanoudakis’ new work “Alexander: Paths you haven’t traveled”. The September 27 concert will feature noted mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa.

According to the Culture Ministry’s leadership on Tuesday, events will include theatrical performances, cinema tributes, dance, archaeological and modern art exhibitions, opera, folk concerts, modern and popular music, conferences as well as book exhibitions.

Additionally, the Hellenic Cultural Centre will open in the centre of the Chinese capital for the next two years, coinciding with Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, where it is expected to host exhibitions, seminars as well as commercial events.