Andy Skordis’ opera Crude Iron will have its world premiere at the upcoming Kypria Festival 2021 this September in a highly anticipated performance that is a co-production of the international festival and the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra (CySO). The opera is contemporary work based on Sofronis Sofroniou’s novel of the same name.
Through a rhythmical development of episodes, visual media, narration and lyrical singing, the opera presents a delusional journey on memory, death and time, directed by Thanos Papaconstantinou.
Presented first at Nicosia Municipal Theatre on September 7 and 8 and then at the Limassol Pattihio Theatre on September 10, the opera takes the spectator on a delirious journey spun in the vertigo of memory, literature, cinema and technology. It follows the adventures of a chess player who when fatally shot in New York’s Union Square is transferred to the planet of Little Life, where he gets, like everyone there, ten more years to live. Shortly after his arrival, he is tasked with reconstructing 4001, a novel by Austrian author Robert Krauss, and finding out whether Krauss has ended up in Little Life.
Through a series of episodes, the opera looks at what happens when this man awakens after his death in a laboratory where strange experiments are conducted, and he sets out on a journey that will lead him to his own land of the dead, where he comes face to face with the ghosts of his own existence. “Crude Iron is a voyage on a planet deep inside us,” writes the directorial note, “where we try hard to remember that we once existed”.
On stage are a nine-member cast, a choir and 15 musicians from the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Zoi Tsokanou. The chief conductor and artistic director of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Tsokanou is the first woman to lead a major Greek orchestra and she had her debut with the CySO in June 2021, before taking on this opera.
Crude Iron, whose original Greek title is Argos Sidiros, is Sofroniou’s second novel. His first, The Progenitors, received the National Award of Literature in Cyprus and the Best Newcomer Novelist Award from the Hellenic Authors’ Society in 2016.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music and at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam, Skordis is no novice when it comes to big compositions and performances. He has created various music theatre performances in site-specific locations like quarries, temples, abandoned buildings, forests and floating stages, which he conducted and directed. His music has been performed worldwide by professional and amateur ensembles and has received international recognition.
He is currently a finalist for the Berlin Opera Prize 2022. Besides composing he is an artistic collaborator with the Greek National Opera, plays the guitar with Monsieur Doumani and is an active performer in the field of free improvisation. The fantastical and delusional journey that Crude Iron presents is expected to be a standout performance transcending through the waves of memory, existence and time.
World premiere of the opera based on Sofronis Sofroniou’s novel. A coproduction of KYPRIA International Festival and the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. September 7 and 8. Nicosia Municipal Theatre, Nicosia. September 10. Pattihio Theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. €15, €10 reduced, €8 performances for children. Tickets can be purchased through ACS COURIER offices all over Cyprus and online at www.tickethour.com. Tel: 7777-7040