Athens Festival wraps up with works by Mikis Theodorakis

The 2005 Athens Festival ends this weekend with two concerts tomorrow and Sunday highlighting works by Mikis Theodorakis, the formidable Greek composer who this year is celebrating his 80th birthday. In tomorrow’s concert, Ilias Voudouris will conduct the New Opera of Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Choir in a two-part program. The first part begins with the Finale of Theodorakis’s First Symphony, followed by parts of his «Sinfonietta,» in which saxophonist Theodoros Kerkezos will perform as soloist along with Dinos Mastroyiannis, a pianist who will also play the solos in the ensuing «Helikon» and the Piano Concerto. Part II of tomorrow’s program presents «Los Amantes de Teruel» – a piece inspired by a Spanish legend – and Act II from «Zorba,» the ballet, with mezzo-soprano Sofia Michailidou. Sunday’s program includes more guest artists, while the same orchestra will be conducted by Miltos Logiadis. The program begins with parts of the ballet «Carnaval,» after which pianist Tatiana Papageorgiou will perform the first and fourth movements of Suite No 1. Petros Pandis follows as soloist in the song «Voy a Vivir» from the celebrated oratorio «Canto General,» while the grand aria from «Medea» will end the first part of Sunday’s program. The second part of the evening begins with the third movement of Symphony No. 3, which brings in part of C.P. Cavafy’s poem «The City,» performed by soloist Maria Farandouri. Greek poets Yiannis Ritsos and Giorgos Kouloukis provided the inspiration for the Fourth Movement of Symphony No. 7 which follows. The program returns to «Canto General,» with Farandouri in «Algunas Bestias» and Pandis in «America Insurrecta,» while the evening ends with two songs from «Axion Esti,» a landmark in modern Greek music, set to the poem of the same title by Nobel prize-winner Odysseas Elytis. Both will be performed by George Dalaras.