CULTURE

Cultural Olympiad: full speed ahead, but with some delays

Only nine months before running its course (at the end of May 2004), the Cultural Olympiad is increasing efforts to promote its events both on a local and an international level – especially abroad, in fact, given that up to now, the organization’s limited activities have enjoyed limited international coverage. With this in mind, besides planning the remaining events more carefully, the organization is also aiming at better promotion. So far, the ground covered by events around the world includes Australia, where Mikis Theodorakis’s ballet «Zorba» was presented in a National Opera Ballet production; the United States, with an ambitious event directed by Costa-Gavras featuring the American Ballet Theater and Giorgos Dalaras, among others, at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in May, while a major archaeological exhibition on Alexander the Great was recently inaugurated in Tokyo. Local and abroad Coming up in the fall are a series of events organized by the Cultural Olympiad taking place in Italy and Russia, while a series of others will be taking place in Athens, not to mention on the Internet as well. Clearly the Cultural Olympiad – even at this late hour – is working more efficiently. To prove this point, all of the events that have been announced for this fall will actually take place – even though a few have been postponed. This is the case for the grand event which will take place at a Moscow stadium. Based on the labors of Hercules, this spectacular, popular production had originally been scheduled for September, but the Russian organizing body (both the central and the municipal government) decided to reschedule for November. Cultural Olympiad President Evgenios Yiannakopoulos is traveling to Moscow next week to meet with local authorities as well as the production’s director. Another event which has been postponed, until December (initially it had been scheduled to open at the National Gallery on October 22), is an exciting exhibition of Renaissance works of art. Titled «Under Apollo’s Light,» the show will include paintings, sculptures and objects, all of which will throw light on how ancient Greece influenced the Italian Renaissance. Another show whose opening date was put off a few weeks is an international exhibition titled «The Other’s Art.» It will feature works by residents of penitentiary institutions. The Cultural Olympiad’s fall activities begin early next month and have an Italian flavor. In Rome, Irene Papas is about to unveil two of Euripides’ tragedies – one in Spanish and the other in Italian – in a unified production which has sparked major international interest (September 10 to 19). Meanwhile, Oscar-winning Italian composer Nicola Piovani is expected in Greece for a concert on the island of Delos on September 13. He will unveil a Cultural Olympiad commission titled «Island of Light.» This year’s Theater Monologues will be presented in four Athenian theaters in the Metaxourgeio area, featuring 25 leading Greek actors. Given last year’s success, the event is being repeated this year in the hope that it will become a tradition in the theater. Performances begin on September 19 and will last a week, while some of the monologues will then travel to Piraeus and Thessaloniki. New technologies «Art on the Internet» is the title of an international competition which should be announced shortly. Its aim is to attract creators working with Internet technology, including digital photographs, works of art and musical scores, among others. Films and documentaries focusing on the Olympic Games and sports in general is the subject of this year’s «Panorama of European Cinema» organized by the Eleftherotypia newspaper (October 10 to 16). Also in the film department is a tribute organized by the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Titled «Greek Myth in Cinema,» it includes Greek and foreign movies inspired by Greek mythology. The event will commence in Athens at the Apollon and Attikon cinemas on October 17 before traveling to local and international destinations. Organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Olympiad, the Cavafy Year (marking 140 years since his birth and 70 since his death) will begin in the first week of November – initially this event had been scheduled for last spring. Meanwhile, preparations continue for the development of the Global Novel. An interactive writing effort carried out on the Internet, it involves 10 Greek and foreign writers. Lastly, the final stage of the Dimitris Mitropoulos Competition for the «Opera of the Earth» has been scheduled for December.