Cultural Olympiad events in soup?

Bureaucracy and mismanagement have prevented the new board of directors of the Hellenic Culture Organization SA (responsible for the Cultural Olympiad) from meeting to this day, although the board was appointed a month ago and some of the matters it has to look into are crucial, like the cancellation of important events, as Kathimerini has repeatedly highlighted. Unofficially, the new board’s members have already considered pending issues (the importance of which the departing board tried to diminish). According to information received by Kathimerini, new Board Chairman Stamatis Mavros and Managing Director Georgia Iliopoulou have already decided on issues like the «International Theatrical Monologues» by famous foreign actors or «The Opera of the Earth» at Ancient Olympia. It seems that the «Monologues» will be canceled for good; otherwise, they should have already started in Epidaurus and at the Roman Agora, locations for the use of which the Central Archaeological Council has given permission. As it turns out, these events, promoted by former Managing Director Manuela Pavlidou, did not enjoy the support of former Chairman Evgenios Giannakopoulos. Nor did the new leadership of the Ministry of Culture take any action, although the «Monologues» have left Greece exposed in the eyes of foreign artists. «The Opera of the Earth,» scheduled to be performed at Ancient Olympia in July by artists selected through international competitions, has also failed. The Cultural Olympiad has now contracted the production to the Orchestra of Colors, through a private bureau, after the unwillingness of the Athens Concert Hall to stage the event greatly contributed to its cancellation. It seems that this performance will now take place at the beginning of 2005 at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, by the artists already selected, and, it is hoped, still with director/set designer Yiannis Kokkos. Manos Hadjidakis’s «Birds,» scheduled to be staged in Athens by the French Circus Academy in September, seems to be running smoothly, as is also the case with the Henry Moore exhibition at the National Gallery. The Kotinos Awards, however, which former Culture Minister Eleftherios Venizelos wanted to give to distinguished foreign personalities immediately after the Games at Ancient Olympia, are pending. Despite Giannakopoulos’s reassurances about the Cultural Olympiad’s funds, the debts are already much higher than the 4 million euros that the Cultural Olympiad possesses.

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