When we think of electricity and how it has changed our lives, names like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison come to mind. But what about Nikola Tesla? A true visionary, Tesla was a larger-than-life figure, a genius inventor with a photographic memory, a polyglot and a man so obsessed with advancing his research he only slept a few hours each night. His idiosyncratic nature has become a source of inspiration for many artists in recent years. Tesla has been the hero of numerous books, graphic novels, TV series and even video games, sometimes with his real name, others with an alias. The latter is the case in Les Éclairs, the contemporary opera by French composer Philippe Hersant to be staged three times at the Greek National Opera in a co-production with the Opéra Comique Paris.
Based on the book of the same name by Jean Echenoz, Les Éclairs is set in New York during the Industrial Revolution and follows inventor Gregor (Tesla) who, driven by his passion for science, makes the ‘mistake’ of putting innovation before profit. This decision leads to his visionary inventions being exploited and distorted by industrialists. Blending real events with fantasy, the opera offers a fresh perspective on Tesla's life and the challenges he faced.