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A man fromThessaloniki is the new casting manager of Teatro Alla Scala

13 December 2009 / 14:12:13  GRReporter
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For the next three years the key position in the Milan Teatro Alla Scala will be occupied by the 40-years old Ilias Tzebetonidis from Thessaloniki. For the first time in the 240-year history of the world best known opera the casting manager will be a young non-Italian. Tzebetonidis was personally selected by the La Scala director, the French Stefan Lisner.

For a year and a half before that, the Italians have been closely following Tzebetonidis’s development. When he received a phone-call in July 2008 he thought a friend was playing a joke on him. However, when he returned the call, the secretary of the director picked up. Mr. Tzebetonidis says he would never forget Mr. Lisner’s words: “We are looking for a person to take over castings for the La Scala performances. Are you interested?”

The next week Tzebetonidis left for Milan to speak directly with the director. The Milan Teatro Alla Scala is known to have probably the pickiest audience in the world, with the notorious loggionistas- watching from the theatre boxes and always ready to criticize, says “Ta Nea” newspaper.

“We need to attract young people to the opera,” says Tzebetonidis. This is not an easy task in our highly technological society but if we manage to present the stories in a proper way, so that young people can identify with the characters, they will come. When we were working on the Gream Vick opera “Bohemians” for instance, the actors came on stage in shorts, t-shirts and with skateboards. Another idea is to invite popular artists, such as Amy Winehouse, and after the concert give brochures for the opera performances, thus attracting their interest,” shares his ideas the new casting manager of the Milan La Scala.

“The opera has a potential in Greece but a good organization, work and appropriate people are needed. The state also needs to provide long-term financing. It costs a lot to bring up the level. One cannot compromise when it comes to an opera such as “Aida”- it would look miserable. The development requires money,” says Mr. Tzebetonidis.

Ilias Tzebetonidis has graduated in Art Law, Communications and Management in Germany. He first entered the field of classical music was in 1994 when working at the Navplio Festival. He has worked in the Munich Opera, from where he gained knowledge on how the opera theatre functions, and returned to Greece in 2000 to become in charge of the Thessaloniki Music Palace program.

Tags: opera music Milan Teatro Alla Scala
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