Spyros Samaras

Spyros Samaras was born in Corfu in 1861 and died in Athens in 1917. He initially studied music in Corfu followed by further studies at the Athens Conservatory as well as the Conservatoire de Paris under the great Leo Delibes.

Opera comprised the core of his compositional creativity. He contributed towards shaping and developing the Verismo movement in Italy alongside other composers such as Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Alfano (many of which were also his friends) as well as librettists such as Fontana, Illica and Simoni (whom he closely collaborated with). The gradual acquaintance with his complete opera works that took place over the last few decades has come to reveal an important musician holding a unique mannerism. The combination of his French education, Italian career and Greek heritage helped him build a distinctive music style that continued to evolve even after his contribution to the Verismo movement mentioned above. This style also characterised his service to French lyrical opera and also led to the technical and aesthetic establishment of the Greek National School of Music. His main works comprise of the operas listed below:

  1. Flora mirabilis
  2. Metze
  3. La martire
  4. Lionela
  5. La furia domata (The taming of the shrew )
  6.  Storia d’amore – The young blonde girl
  7. Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle
  8. Rhea
  9. Tigra (unfinished, only the 1st Act exists which was orchestrated by Byron Fidetzis)

As well as the operettas below:

  1. War in War
  2. The Princess of Sasson
  3. The Cretan girl

He also wrote a number of piano pieces, several songs and a variety of smaller works. The song that stands out the most out of his song collection is the (voice and orchestra) lyrical cycle titled Epinikion (1913-14).

Spyros Samaras is the composer of the Olympic Anthem, which was written and performed during the first modern Summer Olympics (Athens, 1986). It was then established as the official Olympic Anthem at the 1964 Summer Olympics that took place in Tokyo.