Lully’s most famous opera “Atys” was never before performed in Greece, as many other French Baroque Operas which remain terra incognita so to speak, so the first performance in this country by the PETIT OPERA DU MONDE and the noted cemballist and conductor Iakovos Pappas with the “ALMAZIS” Ensemble was greeted with enthousiasm.
The whole venture was produced by the PETIT OPERA DU MONDE and his founder Vassilis Anastassiou who undertook the stage direction as well as the sets. The whole approach was minimal with simple but functional scenery with costumes from various periods, some baroque (as in the sleep scene) others from the 50’s. Personally I was somewhat tired by the static lights onstage and the very minimal scenery, which combined with the static poses of the singers made things a bit tedious. However on the last Act a superb background scenery of the ancestral tombs, and the more dramatic playing of the singers made the last act the highlight of the evening. One must mention the excellent lighting of the stage which created an imposing atmosphere for the dramatic ending of the opera.
Both casts had their merits but were somewhat uneven in their distribution. The premiere revealed a certain nervousness amongst the singers, no doubt because of the inexperience of some of them and of the very limited rehearsal time. The best voice of the evening was the Cybele of C.Chassany who produced an accomplished performance both dramatically and vocally.
S.Monty was an heroic Atys with a stable voice, as was the second Atys of V.Aggelakis whose excellent French diction theatrical presence, and a well defined and flexible voice sailed through the difficulties of the role. All in all the male voices were more substantial and dramatic than the female ones especially on the second evening.
The choreography of the music was rather muddled and many times the dancers were getting on the way of the singers especially since the stage was a small one, but were excellent in the famous sleeping scene.
The orchestra of the Almazis Ensemble was exemplary. One must mention the superb wind instruments with their mellow sound as well as he detailed view of the music of the maestro I.Pappas who seemed so at home with this kind of music and well aware of the demands of such works.
Let us hope that in the future we will be able to enjoy many more performances of such high calibre, of a repertoire which is yet unknown here in Greece.