“If I am a poet ... the air of Greece has made me one."
Poet, politician, British peer, freedom fighter and leading light of the Romantic Movement. Lord Byron was certainly all that and more. But his most defining legacy was his insatiable love affair with all things Greek; in fact it was his involvement in the Greek War of Independence that ultimately cost this heroic figure his life at the age of just 36. At the milestone of Greece’s 200th anniversary of independence, the Greek National Opera Alternative Stage puts on a whirlwind show as multifarious as Byron himself.
"Byron in Greece" unfurls the Hellenic adventures of Lord Byron via the tradition of the Greek folk shadow play known as “Karagiozis”. Fun fact. Byron was among the spectators of an early Turkish version of this puppet theatre in an Epirus coffee-shop in 1809!
In this new musical theatre romp, the master shadow puppeteer Athos Danellis uses his cardboard figures to tell the story of Byron’s two visits to Greece (first as part of his youthful Grand Tour and then in the service of the Greek War of Independence).
“A sentimentalist as well as an ironist, a humanitarian as well as an animal lover, a person of ideas as well as one of passion, a man of action as well as a sybarite, a lover of men as well as women, “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, a philhellene to the (untimely) end and, most of all, a poet through and through,” is how the production intends to frame Byron. Thrown into the pot will also be a new work by the distinguished Greek-American composer George Tsontakis, as a treatment of Byron’s last days in Missolonghi.
* We'll keep you updated as to whether this performance will be allowed to go ahead with an audience in attendance. In the event that restrictive measures against the pandemic are still in place, the below dates refer to when the production will be recorded so as to be streamed on GNO TV.