CULTURE

Andalucian nights in Thessaloniki

The Spanish Philharmonic Orchestra of Malaga will open this season’s program for the first four-month period at Thessaloniki’s Concert Hall with two concerts this Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by two Greek musicians, Christos Papageorgiou and Corina Vougiouka. At a recent press conference, organizers announced that the period’s events would be integrated with those of the Demetria Festival, a major cultural event in Thessaloniki. Papageorgiou will join the orchestra for its rendition of Prokoviev’s Concerto No. 3, while Vougiouka, a guitarist, will perform in Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Concerto for Orchestra. The concert hall’s cultural director, N. Athinaios, told the press conference that the selection of the Spanish orchestra was deliberately chosen, as it is connected with an upcoming production of Bizet’s Carmen – whose plot is set in Andalucia – between October 25-27. A Spanish spirit will dominate both concerts, with notable works such as Nights in the Gardens of Spain by De Falla, featuring the renowned solist and maestro Philippe Entremont, and Gypsy Musical Images of Andalucia with the leading Spanish flamenco singer Esperanza Fernandez. Assessing the concert hall’s first year of operations, the venue’s general manager, G. Parisakis, described its approach as experimental. Both he and Athinaios expressed their satisfaction with the venue’s attendance figures. Revenues generated by ticket sales covered 42 percent of production costs, the officials said. Interestingly, part of the concert hall’s agenda will also be linked with proceedings at the Thessaloniki’s International Film Festival. Music to the screening of Fritz Lang’s silent movie classic Metropolis, for example, will be performed live by a symphonic orchestra. As part of its Christmas season festivities, the concert hall will offer younger audiences four evenings of Lilipoupoli, a live performance based on the legendary radio program for youngsters aired on state radio during the late 1970s. The shows have been scheduled for December 19, 20, 22, and 23. Lilipoupoli, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has been staged a number of times in recent months, including a highly successful string of shows at the Aeriko Club in Athens last winter. The concert hall’s opening four-month period will also include concerts by the New Hellenic Quartet on November 11, the German Kammerakadamie on October 31, a chamber music performance by two distinguished instrumentalists, Yiannis Tsitselikis and Domna Evnouchidou, on November 21, as well as piano recitals by Dimitris Sgouros on December 1 and Vinia Tsopela on November 10. One of her first jobs was working as an entertainment reporter out of New York City for an Italian show hosted by Roberto Benigni. This brush with the media world was followed by a highly successful career in modeling, culminating in a highly lucrative contract as the face of cosmetics giant Lancome.