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Greek National Opera Presents CHEAP CIGARETTES, Now Playing

Performances run through January 5, 2023.

Greek National Opera Presents CHEAP CIGARETTES, Now Playing

After a series of sold-out performances, the great success of the Alternative Stage of the National Opera Theater Cheap Cigarettes , a "romantic operetta" in 34 scenes and 19 songs, comes to captivate the audience from December 4, 2022 and for 24 new performances until January 5, 2023.

Renou Charalambidis's famous film Cheap Cigarettes , a film-ode to the summer, empty Athens, was turned into a musical with music by Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos, libretto by Petros Vouniseas and direction, kinesiology and set design by Konstantinos Rigos, filling the Alternative Stage of the ELLS at the SNFCC worn calling cards, goofs, chance encounters, kisses that didn't go their way and great songs about unrequited loves and moment collectors. Take a hard time / take a wrong turn...

Composer Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos added sixteen new songs to the film's original score, while Constantinos Rigos's atmospheric direction captures the sensual core of this sui generis film noir romp through a masterful use of space that condenses the original script's locations around from a polymorphic, hallucinogenic lounge. The lyrics of the songs are signed by Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos, Petros Vouniseas, Eleni Zioga and Michalis Ganas.

"Life knows and I trust it. I'm one of those people who always smoked cheap cigarettes..."

August 1999. Filmed in twenty-three days of August 1999 against the background of deserted Athens, Renos Charalambidis' second feature film Cheap Cigarettesbrings to mind a jazz improvisation. Renos Charalambidis wrote the script for the film while traveling, inspired by his meeting with beat writer Paul Bowles, the plastic bags of goldfish spread like garlands in the street markets of Tangier and the films of Jim Jarmusch. His heroes fall in love, curse, philosophize, claim romance and settle for the bare minimum, always smoking cheap cigarettes. The film, a tribute to downtown Athens and unrequited love, marked the beginning of the 2000s thanks to its urban romance and nocturnal, youthful aesthetic.

A "male romance" film, according to composer Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos, Cheap Cigarettes was screened to empty theaters from autumn 2000 at the Apollo cinema on Stadiou Street, receiving mostly poor reviews. " Cheap Cigarettes , which gives me all these very great joys, is my film that has also given me the greatest sorrows. I lost my faith. I was overwhelmed by all of this. So what do you do when you show a movie and it doesn't work? I fell, my wings were clipped. I thought the film was my personal whim, my personal madness. And that I failed in my goals", says the film's director Renos Charalambidis. However, the film had not said its last word. It took several years after its resounding commercial failure to gradually gain a larger audience, first through video and then through the Internet. "They were coming to the street," recalls Renos Charalambidis, "having seen the film apparently from a video club and they were talking to me. And with YouTube the whole thing took off!" Cheap Cigarettes now count millions of views and are deified, each screening of them in a summer cinema creates an inseparable feeling, while their sayings have become classics and slogans on the walls: " Life knows. I trust her too». The excellent soundtrack composed by Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos with the wonderful songs "Summertime in Prague" and "Lefko mou yasemi" performed by Elli Paspala also gained a special place in the record stores. Cheap Cigarettes now seems like a farewell song to an Athens that no longer exists and is an important piece of writing by a special creator.

"I'm a collector. I collect the harshest and wildest thing in the world: moments."

February 2022. Twenty-two summers later, the film Cheap Cigarettes is turned into a musical and brought to life on the Alternative Stage of the National Opera. " Cheap cigarettes, who continue their encounter with new generations, now intersect with the complex art of musical theater, in a performance that keeps intact the artistic core of the film. The honor of having a film creatively inspire accomplished artists of other arts becomes even greater considering the artistic prestige of the organization and the fact that for the first time a film from modern Greek cinema is adapted for the National Opera. In my personal universe, the transfer of the film to the Alternative Stage of ELLS is identified with the miracle of the beginning. Like an unexpected artistic birth. After all, the greatest joy in life is to start ", notes Renos Charalambidis.

Decisive for the project, the live presence of the film's director-screenwriter Renou Charalambidis in the role of on-stage narrator condenses the aesthetic stigma of a performance that takes place in the form of a "flashback" between two time zones: The central character of the Athenian flâneur (who embodied by Charalambidis in the original film) is divided here between his present and past selves, casting a nostalgic yet critical gaze at the defining transition, for the hero and for the city, both from lazy post-adolescence to maturity and from the 20th to the 21st century.

In the musical theater adaptation of Cheap Cigarettes , composer Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos gave priority to the songs and music from the film. It is an attempt to transfer to the theater the absolute romanticism of the end of the previous century in Athens. A hymn to Athens that has gone, with a present-day eye. The era of the '90s, the isolation of the night and the power of profanity in musical theater , "he notes. In terms of the realization of the final score, the improvisational ability of the musicians involved in the production was central."The ideas of the musicians, the improvisation, the give and take is the most beautiful part of the rehearsal, especially since here all the musicians are one and the same: Stavros Lantsias, Andreas Polyzogopoulos, Christos Raphaelidis, Giorgos Palamiotis, Thanasis Tsakirakis, Christos Vigos... Dream team".

The author Petros Vouniseas signs the libretto of the new musical. In its adaptation, the lines and original characters of the film have been left intact . « Cheap cigarettes ,this excellent text, stood before me fully alive with the desire to dance and sing thanks to the will of Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos and the trust of Renos Charalambidis. Text exciting, funny, true. Deep, like a sea with starfish that suggest the association with the vastness of the sky and the vastness of the mind, with clown fish that make you smile but also with sharks that remind you that you are flesh and blood. How do you dive into this sea? You don't need much. Pencil to reach deep, ink to confuse the doubts that lurk and the light of a screen that shows you the abysmal and the improbable. And then, when you have now emerged, all you have to do is to put yourselves around the fire that kindled within you and tell them what you saw and what you imagined you saw... This sea is deep. Because it is the sea of ​​each of us. That's why the songs we made together with Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos to travel her were built like submarines that hope to withstand the pressure of the abyss that we hide inside us, they were made like deep-sea vessels that wish to reach the unexplored of each soul. I hope they succeed".

The direction, kinesiology and scenery are signed by the Director of the ELS Ballet Konstantinos Rigos , who returns to the Alternative Stage five years after the sweeping success of the musical Erotokritos. "Like a cigarette butt, the film turns on and off and faces, feelings, events turn on and off with it. A small night walk in a big city becomes the occasion for a film-symbol just before the transition to the 21st century. Theater and film characters will meet in this group therapy lounge musical in order to confront their anxieties as well as their views on life, relationships and the future. The show, divided into thirty-four scenes and two levels, begins in the future. Twenty-two years later, when Nikos, the film's hero, now lives in his memory capsule (where things seem simple, but aren't), he will face his younger, different self, he will meet Sofia again and route will start from the beginning. The rest of the heroes will come to life as in a game of chess and will face themselves, their opponents and our collective memory on the film. The emblematic phrases of the film will evolve into the nineteen songs of the show and will function as a vehicle for reflection, search and humor, evolving the characters and adding to them the reflections of today."notes Konstantinos Rigos.

"When I have this sudden urge to fly, and I have nowhere to fly, I hide in my collection. Full of cafes, boxers, dancers. Accidental touching, swearing. Loving outlaws, galleries, meetings, shouts. Silences, separations, words, words, words."

December 2022. The highly successful production of the ELS Alternative Stage renews its appointment with the public for a new cycle of performances after a series of sold-out performances that thrilled the audience.

The costumes are designed by the fashion designer Apostolos Mitropoulos and the lighting by Periklis Mathiellis.

The roles are performed by a diverse cast of talented actors-singers with experience in the entire wide range of the entertainment field: Takis Vamvakidis , Athena Vrouva , Paris Thomopoulos , Idra Kayne , Sofia Kourtidou , Nikos Lekakis , Konstantinos Bibis , Dimitris Nalbantis , Christina Stefanidis , Renos Charalambidis and Alexandros Psychramis , accompanied by an ensemble of leading musicians: Stavros Lantsias (piano), Andreas Polyzogopoulos (trumpet), Christos Raphaelidis(vibraphone), Giorgos Palamiotis (electric bass), Thanassis Tsakirakis / Christos Vigos (drums, percussion), Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos (guitars, ukulele).

The performances on December 4, 2022 and January 5, 2023 will be presented in conditions of universal accessibility, in collaboration with ATLAS EP, with the aim of unhindered audio-visual viewing of the performance for all, everyone and everything.

For these selected performances, it has been planned to have seats for Deaf, deaf and hard-of-hearing people who use Greek Sign Language (ENG), seats for people who use CAPS which cover the entire auditory channel, as well as blind seats people and people with limited access to the visual communication channel, who will be able to use the audio description (AD) service. Guide dogs are also welcome.



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