NEWS

Bridge’s grand opening

It was not certain yesterday afternoon whether composer Mikis Theodorakis would be well enough to attend the star-studded celebrations tonight marking the opening of the Rio-Antirio bridge. Theodorakis’s music is the focus of the celebrations that begin in the castle at Rio on the Peloponnese side at 8 p.m. with a children’s play by Carmen Ruggeri and continues with a concert of Theodorakis’s music in the Antirio castle on the opposite side. Singers include Alkistis Protopsalti, Giorgos Dalaras, Marinella, Yiannis Parios, and Maria Farandouri, and the show will end with a fireworks display. Theodorakis was recovering from an illness this week and was reportedly trying to convince his doctors yesterday to allow him to attend the biggest-party ever held in western Greece to mark the opening of one of the most successful projects completed for the Olympic Games, and well ahead of schedule. Some of the country’s most popular entertainers and athletes will be joining foreign athletes and members of the International Olympic Committee during tomorrow’s Olympic torch relay across the bridge, which begins at 6.30 p.m. It was confirmed this week that Otto Rehhagel, the architect of the Greek soccer team’s victory in Euro 2004 last month, would be one of the torchbearers, as would former Environment and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis. The Rio-Antirio suspension bridge, one of the longest of its kind in the world, spans the 2.3-kilometer-wide (1.4-mile-wide), earthquake-prone straits between Antirio and Rio. It will open officially to traffic on August 12, a day before the Games’ opening ceremony and a month ahead of schedule.