The Murderess

The Murderess –an opera by GNO Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis that premiered in 2014 to great artistic and box office success– is coming to the Stavros Niarchos Hall on 3, 5, 28 and 30 December 2021.

The libretto by Yannis Svolos is based on the novella of the same title by Alexandros Papadiamantis. Vassilis Christopoulos conducts and Alexandros Efklidis directs, with Mary-Ellen Nesi in the title role. This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.

The 2014 Giorgos Koumendakis work The Murderess creates a startling musical world that marks an evolution in the composer’s distinct personal idiom. His music makes no attempt to bring the historical setting of Papadiamantis’ original work back to life; rather it seeks to bring the inner world of its lead character to life – to capture the psychological portrayal of Frangoyannoù. The opera score traces the Murderess’ every step, at times baring the innermost workings of her mind, at others plunging into the dark and bleak windings of her soul. There are points where the boundless loneliness felt by Frangoyannoù reigns supreme, and others where her scorn breaks through to provide moments of emotional release within the charged plot. “I let the music wander –to express the very psyche of Frangoyannoù freely, in an unforced way– so as to arrive at places that logic alone cannot reach,” notes the composer. He goes on: “I tried to close in on the hidden facets of a psychopathic (?), neurotic (?), forceful (?), domineering (?), undoubtedly complex character fleshed out by the sensational literary sensibilities of the superlative Papadiamantis. In fact, the dividing line between heroine and author very often melts away to leave but a single presence inside of me. Throughout the time I spent writing The Murderess, I tried to set aside all thought of her physical appearance, her age, her facial features, and instead focused my attentions on connecting with that mind which, as Papadiamantis wrote, ‘soared’.”

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