Petra Festival to be a rich and varied mix

Melodies from Cape Verde and Africa, classic Greek tunes, ancient tragedy, modern satire and comedy, dance, hip-hop and politics have all been thrown into the mix at this year’s International Petra Festival, held annually at the open-air municipal theater in Petroupolis, west of Athens. The event, which began on June 1, will run through September 14, with a small lull in August to mark the customary exodus from the capital city. Upcoming performances this month begin on June 16 and 17 with the 1st Anti-Racism Festival of Western Athens, which will begin daily at 6 p.m. and feature bands, stands and more to help raise public awareness of social and institutional racism. Active Member, a local low-bap act with an avid following, will follow on June 20 and following that, on June 25 and 26, the festival has organized a tribute to the acclaimed Greek composer Nikos Mamangakis, featuring «The Ballad of Erotokritos» and a medley of airs on the first night, and an anthology of his songs on the second. The cast of singers includes Savina Yannatou, Melina Kana, Orfeas Perides and others. The month will end on a comic note, with a performance of two one-act plays: «The Grocer’s Daughter» by Angelos Vlachos and «Servant Wanted» by Babis Anninos. The rest of the season has plenty to offer, including performances of ancient drama and comedy (Aristophanes’ «Plutus,» «Thesmophoriazusae» and «The Knights» and Sophocles’ «Antigone»), a staging by the Regional Municipal Theater of Crete of Nikos Kazantzakis’s «Captain Michalis,» Bost’s «Medea» and more, while on a musical front, acclaimed Greek singer Haris Alexiou will pay tribute to the groundbreaking composer Manos Loizos on July 2. The «Barefoot Diva» of Cape Verde, Cesaria Evora – who has held several sold-out concerts in Greece in the past – will appear on July 8, talented local singers/songwriters Socrates Malamas and Alkinoos Ioannidis will join forces on July 9, pop crooner Michalis Hadziyiannis will play solo on July 16 and, in September, the Mama Africa festival will start off the month. A week later Goran Bregovic (best known for his many years of collaboration with Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica) will appear at Petra with his Wedding and Funeral Band.

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