Stage set for the opera (The Flying Dutchman), c. 1923
Panos Aravantinos, a painter and gifted stage designer, already showed in his childhood a penchant for painting and set design, as the theatre formed part of the games which he played with his siblings. He concealed from his parents the fact that he studied at the night school of the Athens School of Fine Arts while at the same time working as an assistant set designer at Athens theatres. After studying at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and in Paris, he visited many countries of Europe, where he came into contact with the artistic trends of the time. After mobilisation and taking part in the Balkan Wars (1912 - 1913), he began his career in Athens in 1916, designing stage sets for revues. A protégé of the Greek Royal Family, he fled the next year, for political reasons, to Switzerland, where he devoted himself to painting, while in 1918, on the recommendation of Queen Sophia, he was engaged by the Berlin Opera, where he demonstrated his talent by bringing renewal to set design, where he introduced innovative solutions. After that, he was invited to renovate the operas of many German cities.