BWW Review: EROTOKRITOS at Thessaloniki Concert Hall
Written in the 17th century by Vitzentzos Kornaros, EROTOKRITOS , which is considered one of the greatest pieces of Cretan literature is coming back to life as a musical. With music written by a trully wonderful Greek composer, Dimitris Maramis, who is also in charge of the libretto and the conduction of the orchestra, and directing, choreography and scenery by Konstantinos Rigos, the show was the one to open the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera in May 2017, making it one of the 'must-sees' of season 2016-2017. After ten sold out performances the success was so huge that there was another sold out performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Then, the show was welcomed by Thessaloniki Concert Hall this March counting yet 3 more sold out performances, while it has also been traveling around Greece and Europe as a concert, leaving everyone enchanted.
Erotokritos is an ode to love. It narrates the love story of two young people who belong in different social groups, Aretousa (Marina Satti), who is the daughter of the king of Athens -Heracles- and Erotokritos (Thodoris Voutsikakis) who is the son of a courtier. Their frobidden love is tested in multiple ways throughout the play but in the end it manages to overcome all hardships.
Two hours of continuous music without prose in between. A very risky thing to attempt, especially since mr. Maramis decided to also keep the Cretan dialect in order to sustain its roots. Greece does not have a tradition in musical theatre, so for me seeing history combined with now in such a remarkable way, without being ''offencive'' is a great achievement. Everything was done in such precision that nothing could be found redundant.
Dimitris Maramis and Konstantinos Rigos are two completely different artists, that put together made something explosive. I loved the balance between comedy and tragedy that Rigos managed to give to the show. Also I found brilliant the way he used a metallic construction in such way that it would transform from a balcony to prison and basically every room the play needed.
EROTOKRITOS was set to music first by Christodoulos Halaris and was based on traditional Creatan musical paterns. However, while not wanting to minimize the importance of Halaris' work at all, I have to admit that I feel like EROTOKRITOS was in some way incomplete until it found mr. Maramis and was reborn through his jazz and blues rythms.
Last but certainly not least, I cannot miss to mention how mesmerized I was by the performances in the show. Thodoris Voutsikakis and Marina Satti were pure magic as Erotokritos and Aretousa. I absolutely loved Ioanna Forti's performance as Nena and Kostis Mavrogenis' voice - who played Rigas Heracles. Gautier Velissaris (Polydoros) , the eight-member assembly and the eight-member orchestra were the perfect pieces to complete the puzzle and create this masterpiece.
The way I see it, the success was inevitable and dare I say we are talking about a Broadway deserving show.
Here is a clip of the performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus: