INTERVIEW | Nikos Spanatis

"Love is a blind emotion full of outbreaks and swirling."

Interview: George Stavrakidis

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 Numismatic Museum in Athens | Photo (c) Stefanos Papadopoulos

How did your relationship with music started?

When I was a little kid, I remember the afternoons after school listening to my favorite LP Record from Haendel’s “Music of the Water”. However, my substantial connection with music happened when I became a member in a Philarmonic Orchestra playing the trumpet at the age of eight. There, I took my first music lessons and I remained as active musician for seventeen years.

On the 13th of February you will perform songs of love at Serres…

The initial idea was, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, to present a program here at Serres, at “Asteria” theatre, which would be inspired by the force of Eros and love, including songs, ballads, arias and duets known to the general public. Supported by the Municipal Regional Theatre of Serres, this idea came true and on Saturday 13th February I will perform with magnificent and established mezzo soprano Irene Karaianni and virtuoso pianist Dimitris Yakas, in a program with arias and duets by the most popular French composers, such as Offenbach, Saint-Saëns and Massenet, the provocative “Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen, very well known songs and duets by Greek acknowledged composers, such as Samaras, Spathis and Sakellarides, as well as the famous Sous Le Ciel De Paris by Giraud, perhaps the greatest French melodist. Purcell and Haendel could not possibly be absent from this program, with their enchanting melodies, the well known and tender “So in Love” from Porter’s musical “Kiss me Kate”, Weill’s music with the “milestone” song “Je ne t’ aime pas”, the delightful music by Audran, Curtis and Britten, as well as the emotional ballad by Niles “Black is the color of my true love’s hair”. All the works are dedicated to Eros and the beauty of real love.

["The great moments music has given me are the true friendships..."]

Has the music given you great moments?

Even though I have collaborated with Greek and international orchestras, as well as with acclaimed singers and conductors, I believe that the great moments music has given me are the true friendships I make after a collaboration has taken place, the love and true enthusiasm of my colleagues and the daily enjoyment of the music I love in any way or activity.

Which professional dream has not come true yet?

The release of a personal album with favorite arias of my repertoire.

Greeks watch opera?

Despite the crisis of our times during the last few years, Athenian audience and occasionally regional audience go to the opera with special love. Nevertheless, I believe that the audience needs even more familiarization with works of old and contemporary repertoire, in parallel with productions of popular operas.

Apollon Theatre, Syros | Photo (c)Christina Kalligiani | Studio1812

Is love a driving force in music and life?

Love is a blind emotion full of outbreaks and swirling. In this sense, it could be a driving force, not only for music but also for life. Beyond that, if the spirit and sensibility could somehow tame it, the result should be a work of life.

In a small town such as Serres, the audience is easier or more difficult?

In comparison to the Athenian audience, the audience of smaller Greek towns, although limited, is thirstier for quality concerts and is almost always enthusiastic. After all, this is the greatest reward for an artist.

Which are your plans for the future?

In April, I will perform with the quartet of principals of Camerata in Athens. Some concerts will follow in Greek periphery, as well as two collaborations abroad.
**The interview was initially published at Serres’ newspaper “Serraiko Tharros”, on the occasion of Nikos Spanatis’ performance at “Asteria” Theatre on February 13th.

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