A sizzling week of events at the Athens Festival

It promises to be a dizzying week of cultural events in the capital as the Athens Festival presents a string of interesting performances at various venues around the city. The week begins with Sasha Waltz and guests performing the first part of the famed German choreographer’s trilogy on the body titled «Koerper» at the Athens Concert Hall tonight and tomorrow (for details, see «What’s On»). Tomorrow, at the Herod Atticus Theater, veteran stage director Vassilis Papavassileiou turns his attention to Goethe’s «Iphigenia in Tauris» (see Page 6). On a musical note, the Scholeion venue will be hosting three evenings of world music tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, kicking off with renowned Afghan singer Farida Mahwash, the voice of her country’s turbulent 1970s. Combining the sound of the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, Mahwash is seen as a leading propagator of Afghan music ever since she left the country in the early 1990s after being targeted by the mujahedeen and has performed worldwide in top venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall. The music of Iran, southern India and Mali are the focus of the next evening’s concert as Keyvan Chemirani (Iran) brings together interpreters from different cultural backgrounds to forge a common, universal sound. On Thursday, the last day of the mini-festival at Scholeio, Faiz Ali Faiz, a leading performer of the qawwali music of the suffis of Pakistan, will join flamenco greats Miguel Poveda and Douquende in a program that draws inspiration from the different elements of each musical tradition. Back at the Herod Atticus, on Wednesday, Greece’s Orchestra of Colors will perform a concert dedicated to the Nobel prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis on the 10th anniversary of his death. Conducted by Miltos Logiadis, the orchestra will perform Bach’s and Poulenc’s concertos for two pianos and orchestra (with soloists Giorgos-Emmanouil Lazaridis and Husey Sermet), Giorgos Sisilianos’s «Mellichomeidi» – which is inspired by poems by Sappho – and Giorgos Kouroupos’s «The Little Sailor,» which is on poems by Elytis. Susannah York is another name to look out for this week, as the celebrated British actress takes the stage at Pireos 260 to perform «The Loves of Shakespeare’s Women.» Inspired by John Gielgud’s «The Ages of Man,» York turned to the heroines of the great bard – among them Juliet, Rosalind, Lady Macbeth and Constance – to find different interpretations of love for her one-person medley of sonnets. In between pieces, she explains her motives in selecting her characters and talks to the audience about her career. On Friday and Saturday, the magic of the Beijing Opera will flood the stage of the Herod Atticus as the acclaimed company’s school, directed by popular actress Sun Yumin, displays its student’s skill in dance, acrobatics, martial arts and music in extracts from popular films and shows, such as «Farewell My Concubine» and «The Monkey King.»

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