THE GREEK NATIONAL OPERA

In its new home, the Greek National Opera (GNO) ( www.nationalopera.gr ) will become an exciting destination for music lovers and architecture cognoscenti alike. The building will be a multi-use venue capable of hosting a variety of performances and events. Its stages will accommodate opera productions, musicals, concerts, theater performances, ballets, and multimedia art programs. Concrete walls towering six stories high dominate the lobby, create the feeling of being inside a “quarry”, and define the dramatic purpose of the stages within. The main block of the opera house is surrounded by several suspended light balconies, with “holes” leading inside the auditorium and alcoves where all the different loge areas are located at every level, providing patrons an opportunity to appreciate the impressive backdrop close-up.

The new 28,000 m2 (301,000 sq. ft.) auditorium is an architectural jewel, designed to enhance the opera experience for patrons and artists alike. Its world-class acoustics, mechanical capabilities, flexible staging, and innate beauty will position it for immediate entry into the world opera circuit, ready to play host to the most technically demanding operas, international multimedia art productions, and formidable solo vocalists. The auditorium is in par with the best European opera houses, and its multiple stages configuration allows for efficient scene changes and the staging of complicated productions. The comfort of the 1,400-seat main auditorium will be equaled in the backstage dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces, and the technical capabilities will extend to the scenic design and costume shops.

The new opera house presents the Greek National Opera with opportunities to strengthen its educational and outreach programs through lectures, seminars, and other events. The organization has developed in the last few years, a children’s stage to attract younger audiences and engage future generations of opera-goers, and expanded its children’s programming to include tours of children’s performances, educational programs, age-specific seminars, and innovative activities. The Greek National Opera will be able to take advantage of new wireless technologies to present productions via the Internet to other Greek cities, as well as employ the Stavros Niarchos Park as an outdoor theater for selected video-link and also outdoors live performances.

A smaller alternative stage with a capacity of 400 people will host more intimate productions, including GNO’s experimental performances, contemporary Greek music, dance, dramatic readings, and theater productions in a venue with technical capabilities on par with the main performance space. The small theater has a flexible layout with no fixed seating, making it ideal for experimental productions. A school of dance will also reside at the SNFCC.