Wednesday 19 & Friday 21 October 2022

Circle | Lyrical Theatre

Andreas and Maria Kalokairinou Concert Hall

The Cultural Conference Centre of Heraklion (CCCC) presents the famous opera of Giuseppe Verdi, Otello, under the music direction of the Greek conductor and Artistic Director of CCCC Myron Michailidis. The production is a cooperation with the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka and the direction of Marin Blažević, dramaturge and opera stage director and artistic director of the Croatian National Theater in Rijeka. This production, that will take place in the CCCC for the first time, has won the Croatian Theatre Biennial Award for The Best Opera Production in the seasons 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Based on the homonymous masterpiece of William Shakespeare, this four Acts opera with the libretto by Arrigo Boito, shows musically the story of the Mauritian governor of Cyprus and general of the Republic of Venice, Otello. Otello, becomes the victim of Iago, one of his standard bearers. The latter managed to convince Otello with guile that his wife, Desdemona, cheats him with Cassio. Otello falls into the trap. He strangles Desdemona. When Otello realises the truth, it’s already late and he commits suicide. 

Shakespeare wrote Otello around 1603, in the mature period of his creation. The story of the Shakespearean play is derived from an Italian prose tale written in 1565 by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinzio (usually referred to as Cinthio). Giuseppe Verdi, who had consistently been an admirer of Shakespeare’s work, composed this opera c. 1884-1885, but, during the decade of 1880, he was already old, tired and suffering from depression. In this opera the composer maintains the narrative of the Shakespearean masterpiece, rendering the story with music of explosive power. The music goes from the extreme intensity of hatred, to the exquisite, almost religious, tenderness of unyielding love. The heroism of Otello, the unquenchable hatred of Iago, the purity and good faith of Desdemona are uniquely outlined through Verdi’s composition.

The production of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka emphasizes on the relationship between the symbolic and the real, in dramaturgy and choreography. Otello is a music drama that balances between music and speech, and the dramatic personae of this opera are not only characters but symbols as well. This production puts the question if Iago personalizes only the jealousy but the logic as well. Otello is the power or the complex? Desdemona is the victim or Otello’s mirror? 

Music direction: Myron Michailidis
Direction and Dramaturgy: Marin Blažević
Choreography and Direction: Selma Banich
Scenography and Lights: Dalibor Fugošić / Alan Vukelić
Costumes: Sandra Dekanić
Assistant Director: Matteo Salvemini
Stage and Dramaturgy manager: Katy Maudlin

Otello: Dimitris Paksoglou
Desdemona: Anamarija Knego
Iago: Daniil Alekseenko
Emilia: Michaela Soltesz
Cassio: Bože Jurić Pešić
Rodrigo: Marko Fortunato
Ludovico: Slavko Sekulić
Montano: Davor Nekjak

Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka

Orchestra members:
First violins: Anton Kyrylov, Tea Grubišić Mihalić, Tatyana Tereshina, Eduard Kraljić, Svetlana Sušanj Karabdić, Dajana Marelja Pašalić, Osman Eyublu, Mislav Salopek
Second violins: Sebastian Mavrić, Renata Cepanec Marjanović, Dalia Cossetto, Tatjana Bušić, Andrea Rizoniko, Flavia Madaghiele, Vesna Kolacio
Violas: Valeriya Vashchenko, Jasminka Koren, Aned Sngryan, Višeslav Salopek, Isabella Valenčić, Ester Klepač
Cellos: Branka Malovac, Giovanni Genovese, Tetyana Sklyarenko, Golnar Mohajeri, David Stefanutti
Double basses: Petrush Petrushevski, Goran Cvijanović, Domagoj Habek, Giancarlo Cascino
Flutes: Lucija Kovačević, Đeni Trdić‐Barić, Marijana Žepina
Oboe: Antonio Haller, Nedžad Karabdić, Daniela Jurišić
Clarinets: Nathan Ukalović, Michaele Fabbrica, Toni Kranjec
Bassoons: Ivan Vagroš, Viktor Kaminskyy
Horns: Alessandro Saraconi, Ante Medvidović, Valentino Buić, Vasyl Yenko
Trumpets: Tina Horvat, Luka Horvat, Igor Mrnjavčić, Ivica Lukanec
Tube: Mihael Hrgar
Trombones: Marijan Orešković, Akari Minami, Alan Bošnjak
Harp: Marta Ćiković
Percussions: Pedro Rosenthal Campuzano, Samuel Baldi
Timpani: Antonio Ceravolo 

Chorus members: Boris Mohorić, Martin Marić, Marin Tuhtan, Krešimir Škunca, Zoran Trubić, Bojan Fuštar, Marijan Padavić, Darko Matijašević, Dario Dugandžić, Lovro Matešin, Morana Pleše, Lorena Krstić, Iva Peračković, Mirna Vidović, Karla Mazzarolli, Ivana Miletić, Karla Duscovich, Ena Lešić Jovanović, Dominika Fortunato, Milica Marelja
Chorus Director: Matteo Salvemini

In participation with the Chorus Ensemble of Heraklion

Chorus members: Sylvia Strouthou, Julia Nikitina, Marialena Vitorou, Vasiliki Arvanitidou-Ousantzopoulou, Maria Pertselaki, Evlogia Fourlanou, Maria Sikiaridi, Diana Tsilidi, Lena Chatzigeorgiou, Eugenia Psaroudaki, Orestis Kousathanas, Thodoris Katsigris, Giannis Mavromatis, Lefteris Papaggelis, Giorgos Manousakis, Giorgos Stratakis, Manolis Stivaktakis, Yiannis Kiagiadakis, Petros Rakitzis, Manos Zampoulakis
Chorus Directors: Lena Chatzigeorgiou – Yiannis Kiagiadakis 


Myron Michailidis | conductor 

Widely regarded as one of the most important Greek conductors, Maestro Myron Michailidis is currently the very first Artistic Director of the new Cultural and Conference Center Heraklion, Crete in Greece. Appointed “Chevalier de l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Republic in 2016, and since 2018 General Music Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra and Theatre Erfurt, Germany, Michailidis served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Greek National Opera from 2011 to 2017. His contributions to the institution’s achievements and successes were honoured with the Society of Friends of the Greek National Opera’s prestigious “Apollo Award” in his final year. Maestro Michailidis’ conducting style is characterized as impassioned and vivid, yet authoritative, allowing him to deliver outstanding dynamic control as well as wide-ranging musical expression. The Greek Critics Award bestowed upon him “Honourable Award for Music and Theatre”. Prior to his tenure as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of The Greek National Opera, Michailidis was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, a post he held from 2004 to 2011. From 1999 to 2004 he further served as Permanent Conductor at the Eastern Saxony Opera in Germany. 

With a repertoire spanning over 300 symphonic works and 45 operas ranging from the Baroque to the Contemporary, Maestro Michailidis is particularly known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, as well as the operatic works by Verdi, Puccini, Gounod and Wagner. Throughout the years, Michailidis has collaborated with internationally distinguished musicians such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Salvatore Accardo, Cyprien Katsaris, Aldo Ciccolini, Ivo Pogorelich, Lars Vogt, Shlomo Mintz, Misha Maisky, Vadim Repin, Martino Tirimo, June Anderson, Cheryl Studer, Paata Burchuladze, Fazil Say and Barry Douglas, among many others. He has conducted some of the most renowned orchestras throughout Germany, China, Israel, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Taiwan, including the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Rome Symphonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Bucharest National Opera, Staatsorchester Braunschweig, Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt, Astrakhan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Mexico State Orchestra, Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as all of the major orchestras in Greece. While with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Michailidis led concerts at various festivals in Greece as well as abroad. In December 2007, during the celebration events of the Cultural Year of Greece in China, he took the Orchestra on tour to Beijing China, host of the 2008 Olympic Games. 

Myron Michailidis has conducted numerous opera productions at opera houses, festivals and on international tours. Over the years, he has performed with some of the finest singers, stage directors and set designers. He has further led numerous spectacular productions at the legendary Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. In 2015 his production of Gounod’s Faust with Eric Cutler, Alexia Voulgaridou, Paata Burchuladze and Dimitri Platanias, directed by Renato Zanella, marked the Greek National Opera’s first DVD release. In 2017 he led a production of La Fille du Régiment at Shanghai Grand Theatre. As Theater Erfurt’s new General Music Director, he has conducted new productions of Carmen (2018), Aida (2019), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tale of Tsar Saltan (2019), Lohengrin (2020) and Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (2020), as well as performances of Lehar’s Merry widow (2019). Upcoming productions with Theater Erfurt scheduled for the 2021/22 season include Manon Lescaut and Luisa Miller as well as a new production of Nabucco. In March of 2021 Michailidis was scheduled to conduct Norma at The Göteborg Opera, a production that unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. 

In 2012 Michailidis recorded Beethoven’s 3rd and 4th piano concertos with the legendary French-Italian pianist Aldo Ciccolini (EMI Classics) and received exceptional international acclaim. His recording of works by the Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti for Naxos, including several world premieres, earned Michailidis stellar reviews with five Diapasons by the French magazine in 2009, and several awards. Two years prior, his first Naxos CD featuring Theodore Kerkezos and works by 20th century Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Skalkotas, Theodore Antoniou, Manos Hadjidakis, Minas Alexiadis and Vassilis Tenidis won the Pizzicato Classics “Supersonic Award” and two Grammy Award nominations. Following his piano studies with Dimitris Toufexis in Athens, Michailidis studied conducting with Hans-Martin Rabenstein at the Universität der Künste Berlin and participated in master classes by Miltiadis Karydis and Simon Rattle. He also holds a law degree from the University of Athens.

Marin Blažević | director 

He is a dramaturge and opera stage director, creative producer and theatre manager, as well as theatre and performance studies scholar based in Rijeka and Zagreb, Croatia. Currently, he holds the post of General Manager and Artistic Director of the Croatian National Theater in Rijeka.

The spectrum of Marin Blažević’s multifarious career comprises diverse artistic, academic and administrative capacities, projects, posts and responsibilities. As associate professor he was teaching theory and history of theatre and drama, performance studies and dramaturgy at the Academy of Dramatic Art (Department of Dramaturgy; also Chair of Department, 2012-2014) and opera dramaturgy at the Music Academy (Department of Opera singing), University of Zagreb, from 1997 to 2017. Since 2013 he occasionally taught as adjunct associate professor at School of the Arts, Columbia University (Theatre MFA Program, Dramaturgy Concentration). Moreover, he gave lectures as well as held seminars and master classes on contemporary theater theory and practice, performance studies and dramaturgy at some of the most esteemed universities and art schools around the world: Yale School of Drama, Stanford TAPS, School of Communication at Northwestern University, School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Theater Academy at the University of the Arts in Helsinki, SAPIENZA University in Rome, De La Salle University in Manila, USC: Roski School of Art and Design, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) and elsewhere.

Marin Blažević published widely in English, Croatian, Slovenian, Italian and other languages. His publications include authored books, collections of essays and edited thematic issues of international journals for performing arts and performance studies. With Matthew Goulish (Goat Island, Every House Has a Door) he co-edited special double-issues of Performing Arts Journal Frakcija (Fraction): Reflections on the Process / Performance: A Reading Companion to Goat Island’s “When will the September roses bloom?” (2004/2005). With Lada Čale Feldman he co-edited Actor as/and Author double-issue for Frakcija/Fraction (2001), and MIS-performance for Performance Research (including DVD On PSi#15 Shifts, co-edited with Una Bauer, 2010). His edited books include: Branko Gavella: Teorija glume – od materijala do ličnosti (Branko Gavella: Theory of Acting – From Material to Personality, 2005; co-edited with Nikola Batušić; English translation forthcoming in 2022); a collection of essays titled No, on the Slovenian performance-theatre company Via Negativa (2011), and MISperformance, Essays on Shifting Perspectives, co-edited with Lada Čale Feldman (2014, Authored books: Razgovori o novom kazalištu (Conversations on the New Theatre, 2007) and Izboren poraz: novo kazalište u hrvatskom glumištu od Gavelle do… (A Defeat Won: New Theatre in Croatian Theatre from Gavella to…, 2012) on the theory and practice of new theatre and its peculiar history in Croatia. He is currently working on the book The Breadth and Shifts of Dramaturgy for an international publisher.

In 2011, Marin Blažević was awarded the Fulbright Scholar Postdoctoral Grant and conducted a research-project titled Dramaturgy: Shifting Concept and Practice at both Columbia University (Theatre Arts – Dramaturgy) and New York University (Performance Studies department).

For almost a decade Marin Blažević was closely affiliated with Performance Studies international (PSi), a worldwide association of more than thousand artists and academics in the interdisciplinary field of performing arts and their studies. One of his main projects was organizing and programming – in the capacity of conference director and in collaboration with Lada Čale Feldman – the highly acclaimed 15th annual conference of Performance Studies international (Zagreb, 2009) on the original concept and creative practice of MISperformance. Subsequently, from 2012 to 2015 he worked as a dramaturge, principal organizer and director on a complex, innovative and dispersed PSi conference under the title Fluid States – Performances of UnKnowing. The multi-conference took place throughout 2015 in diverse locations around the world, from Montreal and Panama City to the Bahamas; from Copenhagen and Santorini in Greece to New Delhi, Melbourne, Manila, Tohoku in Japan, Rarotonga in Cook Islands and elsewhere ( Besides, Marin served for two terms on the Board of Directors of PSi, where he also assumed the role of Chair of PSi’s International Committee and co-founded a new PSi Working Group – Dramaturgy & Performance Studies (with Peter Eckersall, 2012). In autumn 2014 Marin Blažević accepted the invitation to take over the role of Artistic Director of the Opera Company of Croatian National Theater in Rijeka. However, already in 2016, he was appointed General Manager and Artistic Director of the Croatian National Theater in Rijeka, starting in January 2017. His second term began in January 2021 and will last until the end of 2024.

Marin Blažević’s work as dramaturge includes drama and devised theater projects as well as operas (The Bacchae, Miss Julie, Who the Fuck is Marko Mandić?, Trilogy on Croatian Fascism, Carmen, Rigoletto, Callas). His awarded collaborative theater project with Oliver Frljić, Aleksandra Zec (2014), was touring internationally around Europe, and so did Your Violence and Our Violence (also directed by Oliver Frljić), as a coproduction of numerous partners, including Wiener Festwochen, CNT in Rijeka and “Mladinsko” Theatre in Ljubljana. More recently, he devoted himself to staging operas: Händel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto (CNT Rijeka, 2016 and 2020∙ Cankar Hall, Ljubljana, 2017∙ Savonlinna Opera Festival, 2022); awarded productions of Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff were presented as a hypothetical Verdi-Shakespeare Trilogy (CNT Rijeka, 2017, 2018); Aida (produced for Summer Classics Festival in the ancient Roman Arena in Pula, 2018 and 2019); Carmen (jointly staged with Selma Banich, Sandra Dekanić and Alan Vukelić, also for Summer Classics Festival in Pula, 2019); Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (co-production of the CNT Rijeka and Ravenna Manifestazioni – Teatro Alighieri, 2019); Strauss’ Elektra (CNT Rijeka in partnership with Cankar Hall in Ljubljana and Slovenian Philharmonic, 2019); Tosca (CNT Rijeka, 2019); La Traviata, produced in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and against all the odds (CNT Rijeka, 2021). In 2020 Marin Blažević return to drama theatre when directing Practicing Life – Second Time, a theatrical saga on the complex and partly invented micro-history of Rijeka, based on the novel Vježbanje života / Practicing Life by Nedjeljko Fabrio. 

Selma Banich | performing artist 

Born in Yugoslavia and lives in Zagreb. She has worked independently and in collaboration with other artists, curators, groups, and initiatives in the Balkans, across Europe and in the US. She creates in the medium of performance art, through actions and interventions in the public space, and engaged public practices in communities. She was previously involved in numerous dance, theater and opera productions as a choreographer, she performs on film as well. Art films she was engaged in were screened worldwide. Her artistic and social practice is based on processual, research and activist work, and is politically inspired by anarchism and feminism.

 Dalibor Fugošić | scenographer 

Member of the professional Croatian Association of Independent Artists. He started working for the theatre in 1993 as technical coordinator of the Croatian Cultural Centre in Susak. He has collaborated with many exceptional artists and he has designed the lights for almost one hundred performances of drama, ballet, dance, opera, concerts, musicals, exhibitions and others. Since 2015 he works at the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka as leader of technical stage manager, having designed so far, the lights for dozens of projects. 

Alan Vukelić | scenographer and light designer 

Alan Vukelić was born in 27 of January 1977. He acquires his first professional experience in lighting design at the MAPA Amsterdam (Moving Academy for Performing Arts), also in Berlin. From 1995 until the present time, he has designed lighting in over 90 productions. Alan Vukelić has been the Technical Department Director (acting) of the Croatian National Theater in Rijeka since 2015.

Sandra Dekanić | costume designer 

Sandra Dekanić was head of the costume department at the Croatian National Theater in Rijeka from 2007-2011. Since the end of her tenure there, she’s been active as a freelance costume designer, creating more than 80 designs for theatre, opera, musicals, ballet and film productions. She’s worked at theatres and festivals in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro. She continues to collaborate with the director Oliver Frljić. She designed the costumes for his productions When Father was away on Business, Dantons Tod, Zoran Đinđić, Aleksandra Zec, Hrvatsko Glumište and, at the Maxim Gorki Theatre, Gorki – Alternative für Deutschland?

Chorus Ensemble of Heraklion

The Chorus Ensemble of Heraklion is the first and only professional choir in Crete. It was set up in the autumn of 2021 specifically for the needs of the Cultural Conference Centre of Crete. On its set up the members attended lessons by the vocal professors Nektaria Laoumtzi, Lena Chatzigeorgiou, Ioannis Idomeneos and Amanda Kritsotaki. Its first appearance was in Mozart’s Idomeneo, under the guidance of Yiannis Kiagiadakis. All the members live and work in Crete and they are professional musicians, vocal teachers, recently graduated vocal students or vocal students of higher class, choir directors and members with many years of choir experience.

Lena Chatzigeorgiou | choir director 

Lena Chatzigeorgiou was born in Heraklion. She took her vocal diploma in the class of Jolanda di Tasso, and studied Harmony and Counterpoint (teacher: K. Evaggelatos) and Fuge (teacher: Y. Kiagiadakis). She has attended lessons and seminars on Choir and Orchestra Direction with M. Logiadis, M. Oikonomou, A. Kontogeorgiou, F. Giannelou and Patsea and she took her Choir Direction diploma with M. Oikonomou. She attended acting lessons with S. Vafiadis and A. Diamantis. Since 2004 she directs the choir Ionian Aidon and since 2010 the Mixed Children’s and Youth Choir of the Regional Educations of Crete. She has been member of the choir of the National Opera, participating in the works Lombards and the First Crusade of Verdi, Requiem of Fauré and Mythodia of V. Papathanasiou. She has cooperated with the following orchestras: OREH, Popular Mikis Theodorakis on the work Canto General, under the direction of Loukas Karytinos, Youth of Heraklion Municipality under the direction of M. Logiadis and F. Giannelou and with Christos Leontis on the Liberty Cantata. In 2018 she conducted Vivaldi’s Gloria. She has performed in many concerts as soloist, like in Missa Brevis and Requiem of Mozart, Gloria of Vivaldi, Messiah of Händel, Medea of Fournarakis as Medea, Vaptistikos of Sakellaridis as Vivika, in parts of musicals and Greek operettas, in concerts of Greek music and music-theatre plays. Since 2001 she teaches monody and modern song.

Yannis Kiagiadakis | choir director 

Yannis Kiagiadakis was born in Heraklion, Crete, in 1965. He studied piano with A. Vardiabasi, advanced theoretics with V. Makridis, S. Raftopoulos, P. Adam, composition with I. Papadatos and chorus conducting with A. Kontogeorgiou, M. Logiadis and F. Giannelou. He has attended orchestra conducting lessons with P. Sergiou, M. Logiadis and F. Giannelou. He has also attended guitar, clarinet, vocal and theatre lessons. 

Since 1990 he is the conductor of the Mixed Chorus of Heraklion Municipality. He has also been conductor of the Municipality Chorus of Rethymno, Crete, the University of Crete chorus and the bands of the Municipalities of Moires and Ierapetra (Crete). As a conductor, he has cooperated with several instrumental and vocal ensembles, presenting his own compositions and those of other composers. He has also cooperated with the Athenian Symphonic Youth Orchestra, the University Autonoma Orchestra and chorus of Madrid, the Padova Classica Orchestra, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Orchestra and chorus and with orchestras that have been occasionally formed for the needs of certain concerts. He has conducted works such as the Requiem from the Missa Brevis K220 (W. A. Mozart), the Messiah (G. F. Händel), Gloria and Credo (A. Vivaldi), Axion Esti (M. Theodorakis) and parts from Symphonies, operas and oratorios. Apart from concerts that he has given as a conductor, he has performed in many music-theatre performances with the ensembles ODEporos, Aλma libre, Grecanto, Melochromata etc. 

He has composed music for small instrumental ensembles, for orchestra, for chorus, music for theatre, one opera and several songs, some of which have been released in the Greek discography. In 1996 he gained the first music prize in the theatrical competitions, for the music he wrote for Aristophanes’ The Clouds (Nephelai). He cooperated on the orchestration, music ideas and song composition with the music group Armos for the releasing of three CDs, while he was performing in concerts of the group, playing bass. He works as teacher and artistic director in conservatories of Crete since 1989. 

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