CULTURE

Local and international acts on stage in Vyronas

The Vyronas Festival, now in its 17th year, is under way at the Vrachon Theater with a program ranging from local talent, such as regular music performers Socrates Malamas, Haris Alexiou, Vassilis Papaconstantinou and Michalis Hadziyiannis, to international theater plays and headline acts, such as Paco de Lucia, David Byrne and Omara Portuondo. The Municipality of Vyronas’s annual cultural festival continues tonight with a concert by highly respected Greek rocker Socrates Malamas, followed tomorrow by a Tango Flamenco extravaganza performed by 24 dancers of the Talent Danza Ballet Espanol. On the weekend, Greek and flamenco tunes mix again as the finalists of the Mikri Arktos record label’s competition for singers and songwriters take the stage on Saturday to show off their budding talent, while on Sunday the seasoned, internationally acclaimed Paco de Lucia leads the audience in the twists and turns of pure and experimental flamenco. The Cultural Olympiad has also contributed to the Vyronas Festival this year with a commissioned concert on June 23 and 24 of Manos Hadjidakis works performed by the Olla Vogala Orchestra. The concert will feature 30 pieces by the famed Greek composer that have been orchestrated by Wouter Vandenabeele and, in some, the lyrics have been rewritten in various languages to highlight the international character of Hadjidakis’s compositions. The Olla Vogala Orchestra comprises musicians from around the world, with soloists including Nfaly Kouyate from the Afro Celt Sound System, Japanese percussionist Joji Hirota, didgeridoo-player Matthew Doyle, Chinese flute player Guo Yue and Erhu violinist Dong Jinming. The ensemble also includes vocalists from South Africa, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and France. The next highlight on the agenda is a July 1 concert by former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne composed of selected works from his entire career, while on July 15 the Grammy award-winning Buena Vista Social Club’s Omara Portuondo will sing classic Cuban works. The last foreign act on the Vyronas Festival’s bill is a recital of arias and popular songs from musicals by British soprano Deborah Myers, accompanied by the Nykton String Orchestra and piano soloist Theodoris Economou. The local talent that completes the program is Cretan lute-player Loudovikos ton Anogeion with singer Lizeta Kalimeri on June 15, young singer-songwriter Fivos Delivorias on June 17, a mixed traditional and contemporary music performance by Thanassis Papaconstantinou with the contribution of rocker Yiannis Aggelakas and Kalimeri on June 28, Nikos Portokaloglou with his latest songs on June 29, a double bill with crooners Haris Alexiou and Manolis Famellos on July 5, a triple treat with Vassilis Papaconstantinou, Dionysis Tsaknis and Panos Katsimichas on July 7, dreamy ballads by Alkinoos Ioannidis on July 8, Greece’s take on country music with Nikos Garavelas on July 10, Greek pop ballads by Michalis Hadziyiannis on July 13 and 14 and a concert by George Dalaras, Glykeria, Panayiotis Lalezas and the Estudiantina Orchestra on July 19. On the theater front, the Vyronas Festival features four performances: On July 2 and 3, the Regional Municipal Theater of Patras will perform Euripides’ «Iphigenia at Aulis,» directed by Themis Moumoulidis and starring Stelios Mainas, Karyofyllia Karabeti and Giorgos Venetzas. The Diadromi Theater group will appear on stage on July 11 with Euripides’ «Trojan Women,» directed by Diagoras Chronopoulos and starring Dimitris Lignadis, Anna Vagena and Yiannis Vouros; while the celebrated Karolos Koun Art Theater (Theatro Technis) celebrates 50 years of staging Aristophanes with a performance composed of excerpts from the company’s performances of the ancient satirist’s works. The final performance of the festival, on July 21, is by the Vyronas Municipal Theater Workshop of Pat Cook’s comic detective thriller spoof «Mandate for Murder.» For tickets: Vyronas Municipality, tel 210.766.2066; Vrachon Theater, tel 210.762.6438; Vyronas Festival Box Office, Mitropoleos & Kapnikarea, Syntagma.