CULTURE

Vyronas summer extravaganza

This year’s Vyronas Festival of music and theater, which will kick off on June 6, promises to be exciting. The program includes concerts by popular foreign artists and acts such as Antony and the Johnsons, Iggy Pop, Puressence, Deep Purple and Isaac Hayes, performances by Greek musicians including George Dalaras, Socrates Malamas, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Alkistis Protopsalti as well as theater productions. Shows will take place at the Melina Mercouri and Anna Synodinou Vrachon theaters. The festival will kick off with Mediterranean melodies in a dreamy concert with singers George Dalaras and Dulce Pontes on June 6. This will not be the first time that the two acclaimed vocalists meet on stage; however, this time they will be joined by young singer Michalis Tzouganakis and pianist Stefanos Korkolis as well as various Greek and Portuguese musicians. Acclaimed local singer-songwriter Socrates Malamas will be the next to take the stage, on June 8, to be followed by Eleftheria Arvanitaki on June 15. Arvanitaki, who recently released the compilation album «Dromoi Paralliloi,» will start off with recent hits before moving on to older favorites, joined by up-and-coming lyra player Manos Pyrovolakis, who this year enjoyed great success with a song he released in collaboration with Nikos Portokaloglou. More Mediterranean music will fill the Vyronas stage with the second Mare Nostrum meeting on June 16 and 17, which will feature the likes of Greek guitarist Makis Ablianitis, Turkish artist Fuat Saka and Algerian composer, musician and singer Abdelli. Also on the bill is Catalan singer and composer Miguel Gil, who will join acclaimed vocal artist Savina Yannatou and the Primavera en Salonico band. Singers Manolis Lidakis and Alkinoos Ioannidis will pay tribute to great composer Manos Hadjidakis with the Manos Hadjidakis ensemble, in a concert titled «Four Theater Myths» on June 19, while much-loved pop-rocker Michalis Hadziyiannis will perform June 21. Composer Yiannis Markopoulos will present a selection of the songs he has written for film and theater, accompanied by Mario Frangoulis, Lakis Lazopoulos, Haralambos Garganourakis, Vassiliki Lavina, Foteini Darra and Dimitris Mitropanos on June 22. June’s concerts will end with Greek ballads by Panos Katsimichas and Manolis Rassoulis on the 30th. July will kick off with a bang with indie scene favorites Antony and the Johnsons on July 2, but will also end powerfully with soul legend Isaac Hayes on July 27. Antony and the Johnsons picked up last year’s British Mercury Prize for Best Band and their music was included on the soundtracks of «V for Vendetta» and «Hidden Inside Mountains.» Hayes, who is 64 and has had an extraordinary 40-year career in music, will be visiting Greece for the first time. In between, Vassilis Papaconstantinou will rock local audiences on July 3, to be followed by powerful and popular singer Alkistis Protopsalti on July 6. Organized by Nikos Garavelas for the fourth year, the 4th Country Music Festival will take place on July 7, with the participation of five-member, all-female act Cowboy Crush as well as Minnie and Jim Murphy. It will be the first Greek performance for both acts. Different sounds will then fill the theater, with a tribute to the Greek music tradition on July 10 and 11. The two-day festival will see performances by singers Domna Samiou, Chronis Aidonidis, Savina Yannatou and Haris Alexiou, who will be joined by skillful musicians and traditional Greek dance companies. Underground rock legend Iggy Pop will play on July 12 with the Stooges, joined by Manchester-based rockers Puressence, both of them favorites with the Greek public. Greek ensemble Magenta (Anastassia Moutsatsou, Michalis Nikoloudis and Vassilis Rakopoulos) will play blues from all over the world on July 13 and will be followed by Gocoo, the magic drummers of Japan, on July 16. Veteran rockers Deep Purple, legends of the metal scene, will play some of their classic songs on July 24. The Vyronas Festival also has treats in store for fans of dance and theater. On June 20 the Roes Dance Theater will stage a modern dance performance inspired by ancient funerary inscriptions and depictions on ancient vases, while the Proskinio Theater will present an evening of highlights from five Shakespearean plays, with actors Karyofilia Karabeti, Pemy Zouni, Stelios Mainas and others on June 26. The Diadromi Theater will stage Bost’s comedy «Maria Pentagiotissa» under the direction of Costas Tsianos on June 28. Vyronas’s Municipal Theater Workshop will also make its presence felt with two performances, on June 25 and 30. July will be dedicated to ancient tragedy and comedy. On July 18, the National Theater will perform Aeschylus’ «Persians,» directed by Lydia Koniordou, who will also star alongside Christos Loulis, and will also stage Aristophanes’ comedy «Thesmophoriazusae,» directed by Sotiris Hadzakis and starring Giorgos Armenis and Vassilis Haralambopoulos, on July 26. The Regional Municipal Theater of Patras will also present Aristophanes’ comedy «The Birds» on July 20, directed by Themis Moumoulidis and starring Yiannis Bezos.