"Young, uninhibited, respectfully insolent and essentially innovative", as described by Greek daily I Kathimerini, the music theatre company "The Beggars' Operas" was founded in 2002 in Athens, Greece by composer Kharálampos Goyós, designer Constantinos Zamanis and production manager Gabriella Triantafyllis and is dedicated to the production of low-cost opera and music theatre with a modern aesthetic.
In marked contrast to the rigorous coding of the institutionalized spectacle commonly understood as "opera", which is defined by dogmatic notions, gigantism, high costs and a technocratic approach to both musical and theatrical expression, "The Beggars' Operas" aim towards the creation of "non-dogmatic opera", characterized by equivalence between musical and theatrical expressive means, rational production processes, democratic targeting, and ideological and aesthetic flexibility. Our belief is that music theatre, rather than a genre made by, and for, "experts" and "connoisseurs" is an art accessible to all kinds of spectators, provided that it is approached in the right spirit: namely, as theatre, and not as "spectacle".
From 2005 to 2014, "The Beggars' Operas" presented and co-presented 18 music theatre productions in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Berlin, ranging from contemporary versions of classic repertory pieces to first performances of new works, and from experimental music theatre to Greek operetta and musical. Production models have varied accordingly to the specifics of each project, and ranged from "orthodox" productions with institutional support (in collaboration with organizations such as the Athens Festival, the Dimitria Festival, the Orchestra of Colours and the Piraeus Municipal Theatre) to "heretic" underground happenings in conjunction with institutions such as the State of Sabotage and the Athens Biennale in spaces such as BIOS, the "Knot Gallery", the Thessaloniki City Hall, the former Athens Stock Exchange and the "Embros" Theatre occupation in Athens. Valuing the ideal of collaboration between aesthetically progressive forces, "The Beggars' Operas" have worked with several musical and theatrical organizations of comparable ideology and range, such as the Neuköllner Oper, the dissonArt ensemble, the ARTéfacts ensemble, the Latinitas Nostra early music ensemble, the "vasistas" theatre group etc. They have also engineered two complete recordings of music theatre pieces, Kharálampos Goyós's parody-opera Little Red Riding Hood and the (Good) Wolf (issued on CD by the Orchestra of Colours) and populist oratorio New Greece (The Making-Of) (digital album on fytini.com) and Nikos Kypourgos's musical Silence, the King Is Listening (in preparation).
"The Beggars' Operas" have had neither a permanent location nor a steady source of funding. They have been subsidized twice by the Greek Ministry of Culture for the seasons 2009–2010 and 2011–2012. 3/4 of the latter subsidy remain undisbursed.
"Kudos to The Beggars' Operas and I hope they go on with the same passion" Stefanos Lazaridis