CULTURE

Volos celebrates the Olympics

An interesting and original mixed-media event inspired by the voyage of the Argonauts, including music, dance, screenings, black-light theater and impressive sets and costumes will be making its world premiere on Sunday. The performance by musician and composer Dimitris Marangopoulos, titled «Argonauts,» is the headline event being held in the Olympic city of Volos, the capital of the prefecture of Magnesia in Central Greece, with further performances taking place on August 9 and 10. The brand-new Panthessalian Stadium of Volos will be hosting nine games of the Olympic Soccer Tournament, while other sports facilities in the city will be used as training areas before and during the Games. «Greece’s having been selected to host the 2004 Olympic Games, and the choice of Volos as an Olympic city, proved a first-class opportunity to present to a big public those parts of our past history that reveal the inextricable link between the ideals of sportsmanship and culture more generally,» said Volos Mayor Kyriakos Mitrou at a recent press conference. Other events in the city’s Olympic celebrations include a traveling exhibition on «Games and Races in Ancient Thessaly,» which is on at the Volos Archaeological Museum alongside the permanent exhibition of the museum’s collection. The myth The world-famous myth of Jason and the Argonauts provided the basis for Marangopoulos’s colorful musical production, which will be staged at Ancient Iolkos, the point from which the legendary journey began over 3,000 years ago. The performance of «Argonauts» is separated into two parts and 10 scenes on a script by Nikos Tsaknis. The artistic concept belongs to Marangopoulos (who also takes credit for the music), Miloslav Hermanek and Vaclav Janacek, while the music will be performed live by the Laterna Magica ensemble from Prague, the Volos Symphony Orchestra and the Fons Musicalis Choir, among others. The performance follows the events of the myth as the Argonauts sail from one adventure into another on their way to Colchis, their encounter with Jason and Medea, their trials and tribulations, their acquisition of the Golden Fleece and their triumphant return to Iolkos, which they celebrate by organizing, in honor of the dead King Pelias, panhellenic games. «The dominant elements of the performance are the music and choreography, broadly defined. The chorus, three-dimensional props and image projections, sculptures, sets and costumes are all applied equally in a manner that is abstract and dynamic, and which convey the meanings, symbolisms and images of the Argonaut’s voyage,» notes Marangopoulos. The music is wide-ranging, using symphonic elements, choral passages, electronic noises, solo voices and traditional Greek instruments to express the sounds of Greece and the East.