CULTURE

Three-day Spanish tribute to feature at Nafplion festival

The boisterous slogans of a nearby student anti-war rally in Athens could be heard loud and clear as composer Yiannis Vakarelis held a news conference to offer an update on this coming summer’s schedule for the Nafplion Music Festival. Vakarelis, the event’s artistic director, was not unswayed by the commotion outside. «I feel perplexed and particularly saddened by the darkness that’s trying to impose itself on us,» Vakarelis remarked. «But art is an answer to obscurantism, as well as a life raft.» The program for this season’s festival, the 12th, scheduled to take place between June 20 and 29, has not yet been finalized. But the information currently available had an attractive sound to it. «The first three days will be devoted to Spanish music. We’ve confirmed an appearance by the renowned Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza for the opening day,» Vakarelis noted. «We’ll have a well-known Spanish orchestra and flamenco from Seville for the next two,» he added, without elaborating. As has been the case in previous years, other activity will feature several classical music concerts, and a performance of quality Greek music. The main attractions will, as customary, be staged over weekends to help draw nearby Athenians. The reinstatement of the fortified islet of Bourtzi, just off Nafplion, as one of the festival’s several venues – after a four-year absence – came as good news at the news conference. Events will also take place at Palamidi, the city’s 18th century Venetian castle, the Trianon theater, and St George Square. Bourtzi’s return to the festival had been strongly advocated by the newly elected mayor of Nafplion, Panayiotis Anagnostaras. «The new municipal administration’s objective and intent is to further upgrade the festival and link it with parallel events that would attract fans of other musical styles,» Anagnostaras told Kathimerini. The Nafplion Music Festival is one of the few provincial cultural events that has managed to maintain a high artistic quality. Last November, the Theater and Music Critics Association handed Vakarelis an award for the festival’s achievements over the past decade. «Besides giving the event greater clout,» said Vakarelis, «the award has helped us overcome certain regional problems.»