Rehab center gets musical support

The mere fact that top-selling singer George Dalaras is about to perform Mikis Theodorakis’s 1966 classic «Romiosyni» for the very first time in his long and distinguished career is news itself. But the upcoming production’s worthy cause adds even greater weight to the prospect. The proceeds to be raised over two performances, November 10 and 11, at the Athens Concert Hall, will go to a rehabilitation center, Epistrofi, or Return, which was founded two years ago. «I’ve been particularly sensitive to drug problems ever since I was imprisoned. Jail does not turn users away; on the contrary, it sinks them deeper into narcotics,» Theodorakis, a former prisoner of conscience, told a news conference. «The state’s position needs to be reassessed,» Theodorakis added. The esteemed composer elaborated on shows he has staged here over the previous decade to increase the awareness of Greeks about drug-related issues. He also took the opportunity to call for the reprieve of an imprisoned drug user, Dimitris Aivatzidis, who was sentenced to jail after firing a shotgun outside the Kolonaki residence of former prime minister Costas Simitis. Dalaras described his upcoming performances of «Romiosyni,» whose lyrics were provided by the poet Yiannis Ritsos, as a project of major importance for him, in honor of a «unique man.» «I first heard Theodorakis’s ‘Romiosyni’ when I was 14 years old. I felt it as an uplifting experience. It’s the most significant work provided by Theodorakis to my generation, as well as the ones that followed,» Dalaras said. «This is a work that managed to release us from the mundanity of popular music (laiko) and transfer us to another world,» he added. Besides «Romiosyni,» which will comprise the show’s first part, Dalaras, backed by the Mikis Theodorakis Popular Orchestra, will also perform another Theodorakis classic, «Axion Esti,» the melodized poetry of Nobel Prize Laureate Odysseus Elytis. The production includes baritone Tassis Christoyiannopoulos and actor Giorgos Kimoulis who will read writings by the poet. The cast also includes state television and radio ERT’s Contemporary Music Orchestra with Andreas Pylarinos at the podium. Tickets, priced at 80, 60, 40, 22, and 13 euros, from the Athens Concert Hall.

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