Ancient sites and monuments all set for moonlit serenades

With just days remaining before next Tuesday’s full moon, the Culture Ministry has released details of concurrent musical events at ancient sites and monuments around the country that take place every August full moon. A total of 62 venues, an increase from last year’s 56, will be open to the public on August 12. A diverse range of musical styles will be covered, from rebetiko, Greek Neo Kyma, opera, jazz, and Greek folk. Certain venues will be open to the public on the night, but will not host events. These are the Acropolis, the Temple of Aphaia on Aigina, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, the ancient stadium in Olympia, and Poliochni on Lemnos. All venues will open at 9 p.m. and close at 1 a.m. Entrance will be free. The ministry is organizing this year’s events, titled «62 Sacred Places Under the Moonlight,» in collaboration with the local branch of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The August full moon musical events, which have proved popular with the public since their relatively recent introduction, are being held for the fifth successive year. Commenting on the upcoming performances, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos noted: «August’s full moon evening again offers an appealing opportunity for Greeks and visitors to experience the mystery of our country’s ancient sites under the moonlight. This is a way of honoring and projecting our cultural heritage, and, primarily, a way of feeling that we are its guardians.» In Athens, most of the archaeological sites and monuments to remain open for the evening will not host musical events. The capital’s only performance will take place at the Roman Agora, where high-caliber vocalist Savina Yiannatou, accompanied by cellist Tassos Mysirlis, will perform songs by the late Manos Hadjidakis. Further out in Elefsina, on the city’s outskirts, Nikos Dimitratos will present a tribute to the rebetiko song form. The agenda will be busier in Thessaloniki, where two well-known vocalists, Tania Tsanaklidou and Nena Venetsanou, will perform concurrent shows at different venues. Tsanaklidou, to perform at the Museum of Byzantine Culture, will present a set titled «August Elegies.» Venetsanou will perform at Thessaloniki’s Eptapyrgio. In nearby Vergina, Heimerini Kolymvites, whose whimsical brand of rebetika and old-school Greek serenades has become a trademark for the cult band, will perform a set titled «The Sun and the Moon.» Maria Farandouri, renowned mostly for her epic vocal contributions to work by Mikis Theodorakis, will perform at Aghios Georgios on Cephalonia. «To the Moon’s Passions» is the official title of her performance. Aliki Kagialoglou, to perform at the ancient site on Delos, will present musical interpretations of poetry by various Greek and foreign poets. The accomplished guitarist and songwriter Notis Mavroudis will perform at Dodoni, northwestern Greece. Georgia Syllaiou and Sakis Papadimitriou, a local jazz pioneer, will perform an eclectic set that includes material by Kurt Weill, Manos Loizos, excerpts from musicals, soul, and modern Greek, at the Roman Odeon on Kos. Also on the agenda are: Mimis Plessas («Odes to the Moon») – Ancient Nicopolis, southwestern Epirus; Ilias Andriopoulos with Spyros Sakkas and Ioanna Forti («Poetry Musically Interpreted» by Mikis Theodorakis) – Roman Odeon in Patras; Manolis Mitsias and Argyro Kaparou («The Big Summer Concert») – Lamia Castle; Yiannis Markopoulos («My Songs») – Pella, northern Greece; Melina Tanagri («At the Castle») – Ioannina Castle; the Hainides («The Moon’s Secrets are a Mystery To All») – Dion, Pieria; Ilias Liougos («Tribute to Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis») – Ancient site of Iria, Naxos; Nikos Platanos («Music to the poetry of Nikos Kavvadias») – Koryschades, Evrytania; Michalis Dimitriadis, Vasia Zilou, Costas Skandalis («From ‘Sophisticated’ modern Greek music to popular Greek laiko») – Gynaikokastro, Kilkis; Thanassis Polykandriotis («In the Moon’s Embrace») – Arched Bridge/Gate, Trikala; Ross Daly («Ethnic Elements from the Mediterranean to the East») – Itzedim Fortress, Souda, Crete.