CULTURE

Athens Festival presents cycle of love songs by Theodorakis

At a recent press conference for the upcoming concert «Mikis Theodorakis: Songs of Love,» scheduled to take place at the Herod Atticus Theater on Sunday and May 23 as part of the Athens Festival, the celebrated Greek composer made a bold remark about the program that combines his songs and symphonic works. «Finally,» he said, «a few people are taking on the responsibility, even at this late stage, to present one side of my complete face.» Theodorakis told reporters about the hard times. He talked about his efforts to convince the Greek public about the significance of symphonic music – efforts halted by Greece’s 1967-74 military dictatorship. «There was the junta and after its fall it was difficult to make up for lost time,» Theodorakis said. «Spending half of my life in prison, I wrote music using my fellow inmates and the guards as my audience… These concerts are of great importance to me as they incorporate a national memory, a notion which is ailing today.» The concert features a number of special guests including soprano Sonia Theodoridou, tenor Zachos Hadjakis, popular singers Nena Venetsanou, Lavrentis Maheritsas and Dimitris Bassis, and pianist Tatiana Papageorgiou. They will all be accompanied by the Mikis Theodorakis Popular Orchestra, the ERT Greek Radio and Television Choir – led by Antonis Kontogeorgiou – and the ERT National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andreas Pylarinos. The concerts’ program reflects the multifaceted composer’s oeuvre, bringing together popular works including «Epitafios,» lyrical works such as the «Ballads,» and oratorios such as «State of Siege,» as well as symphonic works, ballets and arias from operas like «Antigone.» With the Athens Festival celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, its vice president Dimitris Kapranos noted that the upcoming concerts «are a great honor for the festival, particularly given that each Mikis Theodorakis concert is an enormous celebration.» Tickets are available at the theater’s box office and the Hellenic Festival Box Office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900.