CULTURE

Star performers get together to raise funds for homeless

A team of high-profile singers and actors have joined forces for a charity performance at the capital’s Herod Atticus Theater tonight in support of the homeless people of Athens. Dubbed «When I Speak of the Sun,» the event’s cast includes Greek opera star Mario Frangoulis, the Cretan vocalist Manolis Lidakis, whose fine renditions over the past couple of decades has established him as one of the country’s most sought-after singers, as well as the respected actor and director Grigoris Valtinos. Their show will be based on works by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis. The production is directed by Ilias Malandris. All proceeds raised by tonight’s performance will be donated to the City of Athens’s Homeless Reception Center, an establishment focused on offering support to people with no fixed place of abode. The 39-year-old Frangoulis took his first formal musical step by studying violin before attending London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After his graduation, he became active on the musical theater scene, eventually landing a series of roles in London’s West End. It was during this time that Frangoulis turned to opera after a suggestion by a friend, a soprano who told the Greek artist that he was »a pure tenor and had to study opera.» He wasn’t convinced, believing that opera was an art that attracted little interest these days. But he was eventually drawn to the discipline, and went on, in 1993, to win the Maria Callas Prize, an international opera competition, and a scholarship to New York’s celebrated Juilliard School of Music. Frangoulis has since helped draw younger people to opera. For a little over a year now, the City of Athens has operated a soup kitchen just off Omonia Square, the downtown location that attracts a considerable number of the city’s homeless, with hundreds of free midday and evening meals. Tickets for the show, which starts at 8.30 p.m., have been priced at 20, 40, 50, 60 and 80 euros.