Greek National Opera to Revive Acclaimed Production of Giorgos Koumendakis’ ‘The Murderess’

By Logan Martell

On December 3, 2021, Greek National Opera will present a revival of their celebrated production of Giorgos Koumendakis’ “The Murderess.”

This production will be reconfigured for the venue at GNO’s Renzo Piano-designed opera house, Stavros Niarchos Hall, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. It will be directed by Alexandros Efklidis, with Vassilis Christopoulos conducting the GNO orchestra. Canadian-Greek mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi will make her role debut as Frangoyannou, the titular “murderess.” The production will feature four choral ensembles: one male, one female, one of children, and a polyphonic ensemble of four women.

The work adapts the novella by revered Greek author Alexandros Papadiamantis, with libretto by Yannis Svolos.

“This opera by Giorgos Koumendakis focuses on the character of The Murderess and, through the use of music, spotlights something that is very difficult to capture in a straightforward staging of the story: the mental landscape of the heroine – her very psyche,” writes Efklidis in an official press statement. “The challenge here was to capture this precise element, to bring Frangoyannoù’s nightmarish world to life on stage. As a result, the opera unfolds as a monodrama, playing out from the highly subjective and disturbed perspective of its protagonist. Ultimately, “The Murderess” is a balance between large scale and small, making use of four choral ensembles and a large orchestra to render the subtle, innermost nuances of the heroine’s state of mind, which is absolutely core to the action.”

Performances will take place on December 3, 5, 28, and 30, 2021. Audience members must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with children of 11 and under able to present a negative self-test taken within 24 hours. Children between 12 and 17 can provide proof of vaccination, a recovery certificate, or a negative PCR/ rapid test result.