Exploring democracy at a legendary Greek site

The European Cultural Center of Delphi has unveiled a rich program of events scheduled to take place during its annual meeting on ancient drama next month. Under the banners «The Year of Pericles» (marking 2,500 years since his birth) and «The Year of Democracy,» the center’s president Helene Ahrweiler announced the program, which is to take place from July 1 to July 25, at a recent press conference. The meeting will be held under the aegis of Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Costas Karamanlis, while this year’s cultural highlight will be the appearance of Vanessa Redgrave as «Hecuba.» A group of artists who will be participating in the upcoming event accompanied Ahrweiler at the press conference: Alekos Fasianos, Giorgos Kouroupos, Pantelis Voulgaris, Manolis Mitsias, Dionysis Savvopoulos and Effie Theodorou. Also present was Christodoulos Yiallourides, president of the center’s administration council. «The quality of what we are going to do is all around me,» said Ahrweiler, adding, «The artists put in their heart and soul and we add the legendary landscape.» An international symposium on «The Year of Pericles: Democracy, Ancient Drama and Contemporary Tragedy» (July 2-5) will unite leading personalities from the worlds of politics, culture and the arts. Focusing on the concept of democracy, the symposium will also include a round-table discussion on «Woman: Democracy and Equality.» On the cultural front, the «Columns and Pillars» exhibition (curated by Takis Mavrotas) will showcase new works by the following artists: Yiannis Moralis, Costas Tsoklis, Alekos Fasianos, Sotiris Sorongas, Pavlos, Opy Zouni, Yiannis Psychopaidis, Yiannis Bouteas, Dimitris Mytaras, Yiannis Parmakellis, Stephen Antonakos, Chryssa, Novello Finotti, Patrizia Molinari, Iotoff and Gunther Uecker. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of Euripides’ «Hecuba,» starring Vanessa Redgrave, will be performed on July 2. The company commissioned leading theater and film poet Tony Harrison to write his own version of the tragedy. No stranger to Delphi, Harrison has already presented two of his works there in the past. «Trackers of Oxyrrynhus» and «Laborers of Heracles,» were both showcased within the International Meetings on Ancient Greek Drama in the European Cultural Center of Delphi framework. On July 3, «Six Nights on the Acropolis» is based on the sole complete novel by George Seferis, as adapted and directed for the stage by Effie Theodorou. A European Cultural Center of Delphi production, the play was performed at the Roman Forum in Thessaloniki last year. Thucydides’ «Funeral Oration,» a musical performance composed by Giorgos Kouroupos and starring Yiannis Fertis, will open at Delphi for the first time. Created for «The Year of Pericles,» the performance is based on the ancient text by Thucydides in a translation by Eleftherios Venizelos. The National Theater of Greece will present a new production of Aristophanes’ «Acharnians» on July 8 and 9. Starring Lakis Lazopoulos (in his first collaboration with the company) the play was translated by Pantelis Boukalas and is directed by Vangelis Theodoropoulos. Singer/songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos continues in an Aristophanic mode, with a concert featuring his take on «The Acharnians» and «Plutus.» Savvopoulos composed and translated lyrics from both plays in 1976 and 1985 respectively. In the concert at Delphi, he will also interpret other popular tunes. The cultural events will end on July 23 with an audiovisual performance titled «Kivotos,» in which director Pantelis Voulgaris, artist Alekos Fasianos and singer Manolis Mitsias join forces in a performance that traces the history of contemporary Greek music.

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