Everyone counts on the path to success

It is known that the man responsible for the music overall was Giorgos Koumendakis. Did you listen to many different pieces of music before settling for the one by Hadjidakis to play during the scene of the boy in the boat? That was all Giorgos’s work. Of course I also had a say – we got along marvelously the entire time – but the ceremony’s soundtrack is his and I am very grateful to him for it. Koumendakis suggested the pieces by Manos [Hadjidakis] and Mikis [Theodorakis], he used Mahler for the scene with the Centaur and the explosion of the Cycladic figure, he brought Shostakovich for the flame-lighting at the end, and each of his decisions were spot-on. The music has to be right for a scene to get its timing, its choreography. It was he who decided that the music for «Clepsydra» had to be by a contemporary artist, like Constantinos Vita, to introduce the gravity of historical heritage in a modern context. When Constantinos first brought his music to us, we cried. It was the perfect answer. Even the idea of bringing DJ Tiesto to play the music for the parade of nations was his. You saw how well it worked, what energy it gave to the athletes. Aren’t you going to save any of the praise for yourself? You seem to parceling it all out. I gave the basic line and was responsible for the overall image and rhythm. But what I am most proud of is the fact that I brought all these artists together. A lot of other artists were involved as well, such as Ermis Malkotsis from the Sinequanon dance company, who danced on the floating cube. What Ermis did was beautiful, and brave. Like the flying Eros, Yiannis Mandafounis, the son of choreographer Haris Mandafounis. He is just 20 years old, and a superb dancer, who used to be with the [Jiri] Kylian company before moving to [William] Forsythe. They were all volunteers and absolutely top-notch professionals, like Christos Loulis and Katerina Papageorgiou, who played the young couple in the lake. Christos Papadopoulos, an actor and dancer, was the Centaur, while the sweet Vangelio Randou, a dancer, was the pregnant woman in the lake – she is very talented and possesses a Mediterranean beauty of the type that would have moved Pasolini. And let’s not forget Nikos Hadzidavitidis, a performer of traditional Black Sea Greek dances and music, that stunning young man who strode into the lake, conversing on his drum with the other drummer in Ancient Olympia, on the video, Petros Kourtis. Another star was the runner who cut the ribbons representing the Olympic Games of the past, 20-year-old Giorgos Sambanis. And, of course, there’s the small treasure of all the volunteers, little Michalis Patsatzis, the boy in the boat with the flag. Among the volunteers in the «Clepsydra» parade we spotted several celebrities, such as Stavros Zalmas posing as Karaiskakis and Vicky Koulianou in a traditional Greek bridal dress. How many were there? That I won’t tell you! I won’t tell you because there weren’t just celebrities in the parade, but many, many more young men and women, who like all the other volunteers, acted as if they were on an important mission. Indeed, the longer we worked together, the greater their pleasure in the project became. And they expressed it through their generosity. They never moaned or tried to slack off. I mean, at the end of a day, we would say, «We’re done, you’re free to go,» and they would stick around for more, more rehearsals. I am really, very grateful to them. Like I am to the countless number of other people who worked with us on the ceremony.

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