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Nana Mouskouri’s last concert in Athens March 9, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life, Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Nana Mouskouri is currently in Barcelona, where she will appear live on 14 March, during her farewell tour.

09-03-08_nana_mouskouri.jpg  Music fans will be able to enjoy Nana Mouskouri’s last concert in Athens, Greece. Eternally popular vocalist Nana Mouskouri will round off her career on July 23 at the Herod Atticus Theater, in Athens, Greece.

For detailed info please visit > http://www.greekfestival.gr

Nana’s Official Website > http://www.nanamouskouri.net/

Successful experiment continues at the Hellenic Festival March 5, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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The Hellenic Festival’s program for 2008 follows format that was established just two years ago > Top dancer Sylvie Guillem will perform ‘Le Sacre de Printemps’ as part of the tribute to Maurice Bejart.

Ever since Giorgos Loukos took over, the Hellenic Festival has undergone an unprecedented change. By reaching out to young audiences and introducing new venues, from 2006 the institution has acquired a new identity.

This summer promises to continue the newly established tradition. At yesterday’s press conference Loukos announced the, once more, rich program, which has two novelties, a stronger emphasis on visual arts and on collaboration between foreign directors and Greek actors. Highlights include a tribute to the recently deceased dance master Maurice Bejart with Sylvie Guillem, choreographies by Trisha Brown and Pina Bausch and a dance performance with Mikhail Baryshnikov, but also Dimitris Papaioannou’s milestone performance “Medea”. Music fans will be able to enjoy Nana Mouskouri’s last concert.

“The Hellenic Festival may be the most popular and recognizable institution of the country. The experiment has worked,” said Minister of Culture Michalis Liapis, who was present at the press conference. Pointing out the audience’s warm response and the sold-out performances, he went on to say that the festival can now claim its own position on the international cultural map.

“I am very pleased,” said Loukos, who explained the contrast with the beginning, in 2006, when everything was so uncertain. “We made mistakes but we learnt from them.” He proudly announced that various productions that opened at the Hellenic Festival, such as Michail Marmarinos’s “I’m Dying Like a Country” and Lefteris Vogiatzis’s “Antigone” will travel to international festivals and said that acclaimed institutions abroad, including London’s Old Vic Theater, have expressed their interest in working with the festival.

05-03-08_herod_atticus.jpg  The program at the trademark venue, the Herod Atticus Theater, will start with the Greek National Opera production of Puccini’s opera “Turandot” on June 1, 3, 5 and 7. The Paul Taylor Dance Company will take the stage on June 11, followed by the tribute to great 20th-century choreographer Bejart with top dancer Sylvie Guillem on June 16 and 17. In what Loukos described as a performance “not to be missed” and “a mixture of gospel and Greek tragedy,” Lee Breuer will present his take on the story of Greek mythical hero Oedipus with “The Gospel at Colonus” on June 21. June will end with a concert by composer Olivier Messiaen (23), a tribute to Greek variete and revues by Stamatis Kraounakis (27, 28) and a concert with classical pianist and jazzman Fazil Say (30).

July will kick off with soprano Renee Fleming in her first performance in Greece (July 3) and will continue with a Greek music extravaganza by Nikos Portokaloglou and various guests (July 6, 7). Distinguished maestro Riccardo Muti will lead the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra on July 8, followed by an evening of Ravel melodies with the Orchestre de Paris under Christophe Eschenbach (July 11). Stavros Xarchakos will pay tribute to Manos Hadjidakis (July 13), the Bolshoi Theater orchestra and choir will play compositions by Prokofiev (July 14) and the Cyprus Theater Organization will stage Aristophanes’ comedy “Plutus” (July 16). On July 18, the Lyceum of Greek Women will present a show based on percussion and the Karolos Koun Theatro Technis will perform Aristophanes’ “Birds” which was just staged in China (July 20, 21). Eternally popular vocalist Nana Mouskouri will round off her career on July 23. Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will present his work with the Shaolin Monks (July 26) and composer Lena Platonos will follow (July 28). July will end with a concert by the Greek-Turkish Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy on the 29 and then singer-songwriter Paolo Conte (July 31). The program at the hugely popular Pireos 260 venue will kick off with a renewed version of Dimitris Papaioannou’s 1993 “Medea” (June 1 to 5). Choreographer Josef Nadj and artist Miquel Barcelo will experiment in “Paso Doble” (June 1 to 3) and the Theseum Ensemble will once more stage Dimitris Dimitriadis’s “I’m Dying Like a Country” directed by Michail Marmarinos (6, 7). The Compagnie Maguy Marin will perform June 8-10 and the Wooster Group will return for an original take on “Hamlet” (12-15). Mikhail Lermontov’s play “Masquerade” by Stathis Livathinos will go on stage June 24 to 26 and Yiannis Houvardas will present Oden von Horvath’s play “Tales from the Vienna Woods” (27-30).

The acclaimed Schaubuehne company will return with Tennessee Williams’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (June 29-July 1) and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (July 8-10,) directed by Thomas Ostermeier. Dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov will dance July 3 to 8, then flamenco revolutionary Israel Galvan will perform July 10-12. The Trisha Brown Dance Company, that has only performed at the Kalamata International Dance Festival so far where Greece is concerned, will give two performances (12, 13) and French choreographer Alain Buffard will follow, July 15 and 16. Hanoch Levin’s play “Krum” by Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski, will be staged July 16 to 18 and be followed by an adaptation of Josephine Hart’s novel “Damage” by Haralambos Gogios (21, 22). July will end with Mabou Mines and Lee Breuer’s award-winning performance of Ibsen’s “Dollhouse” (21-24), Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” directed by Cezaris Grauzinis (29-31) and Dimitris Kourtakis’s performance “Kafeneion” (30-31).

Highlights at the Athens Concert Hall include a 16th-century Chinese opera (June 12-14), Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” by the Lyon National Opera in a Greek first (July 7, 9) and Mussorgsky’s opera “Boris Godunov” by the Bolshoi Opera (July 15, 16). There will also be concerts by string quartets mid- to end-June and the Greek Ensemble of Contemporary Music (July 24), a concert by pianist Fazil Say and percussionist Burhan Ocal (June 28, although the venue might change) and religious compositions by Les Talents Lyriques on June 27.

At the Scholeion venue, actress Aspassia Papathanassiou will do a reading on June 9 and drog_a_tek will present an audiovisual performance on June 12. Actresses Reni Pittaki and Loula Anagnostaki will join forces June 17 to 21 and Jean-Christophe Sais’s take on Euripides’ tragedy “Andromache” will be staged on June 22 and 23. The program will continue with Vassilis Alexakis’s play “Call Me by My Name” (June 29, 30), a tribute to mythological hero Oedipus by the Theater of Silence (July 1 to 5), and duets and solos from the contemporary Greek dance scene (July 7, 10). Renate Jett will present Heiner Mueller’s “Quartet” starring Betty Arvaniti and Christos Stergioglou July 15 to 20. Ethnic music, by the Taksim Trio, three Greek ensembles, Buika, Iranian singer Shahram Nazeri and Marta Sebestyen will follow (22-26). Ibsen’s “Ghosts” by Ektoras Lygizos will be staged July 27 to 31. July will end with Euripides’ tragedy “Bacchae” by Thomas Moschopoulos (30, 31).

Anastassia Lyra’s dance installation will inaugurate the Mikroskopiko Theater, June 21 to 23. The Technopolis Arts Complex will host once more the avant-garde Synch Festival June 13 to 15 and a modern art exhibition from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo collection will go on display at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street annex.

The Epidaurus Festival of Ancient Drama will open with Beckett’s “Happy Days” (July 4, 5) directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw, which was only staged for one night last summer because of the fires in the Peloponnese. The program then features Aristophanes’ “Frogs” by Dimitris Lignadis (July 11, 12), Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” by Pina Bausch and the Paris Opera (July 19, 20), Euripides’ “Phoenician Women” by the Spyros Evangelatos Amphi-Theater (July 25, 26), Euripides’ “Orestes” by the National Theater of Northern Greece (August 1, 2), a unified Greek National Theater production of Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” and “Oedipus at Colonus” by Roula Pateraki (August 8, 9), Euripides’ “Medea” by Anatoly Vasiliev (15, 16) and Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” by Angela Brouskou (22, 23).

The cozy Epidaurus Little Theater will host Matthias Langhoff’s take on Heiner Mueller’s play “Philoctetes” (June 27, 28), Mediterranean melodies by Savina Yannatou (July 11, 12), Britten’s “Curlew River” by the Lyon National Opera (July 10, 11), a concert with Periklis Koukos (July 18, 19) and a concert with George Emmanuel Lazaridis and Maria Farantouri (July 25, 26.)

For detailed info please visit > http://www.greekfestival.gr

Euripides tragedy at Epidaurus ancient theater August 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Stage & Theater.
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‘Iphigenia in Tauris’ a Cyprus Theater Organization production at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus

In Euripides’ tragedy the title character, obliged to perform human sacrifices in a foreign land, is about to sacrifice her own brother unaware of his true identity.

The Cyprus Theater Organization (THOC), whose continuous activity now spans 35 years, returns to the Epidaurus Ancient Theater for the 25th successive year with a staging of Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Tauris” tonight and tomorrow.

Through his version of this classic tragedy, Euripides opted for a different conclusion to the myth of the House of Atreus, an exceedingly unfortunate family descended from and persecuted by the gods. Euripides seems to have been dissatisfied with the Aeschylean compromise reached in “Eumenides” and opted to return to an older myth concerning Iphigenia, that of the Taurean Artemis, with its matriarchal roots.

“To deal with the work of Euripides is to undertake an exercise in dialectic thought. The ancient Greek enlightenment, with its questioning of facts, constitutes the primary tool for the closest possible examination of the Euripidean landscape,” noted Yiannis Margaritis, the production’s director. “Euripides presents the need for the coexistence of opposites, the need for balance between old and new, ‘barbarian’ and ‘civilized,’ in a different way. The cycle of bloodshed will end in the utopia of complete acceptance, or with the complete acceptance of utopia,” Margaritis continued.

THOC’s production was translated by K.H. Myris. The music was composed by Thanos Mikroutsikos. The set was designed by Andy Bargilly. Cast members include Stella Fyrogeni as Iphigenia, Achilleas Grammatikopoulos as Pylades, Antonis Katsaris as Thoas, and Neoklis Neokleous as Orestes. On stage at 9 p.m.on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets at the Athens Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3272000 as well as the Herod Atticus Theater box office, near the Acropolis metro station.

A video-opera exploring violence July 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Museums, Ballet Dance Opera, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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“The Rape of the Sabine Women” by French artist Jacques-Louis David, became the inspiration behind the video-opera created by Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation.

The Athens Festival is currently presenting the work of British artist Eve Sussman and her troupe, the Rufus Corporation. “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, a video-opera inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s painting of the same name is being presented for one final night in the Benaki Museum’s atrium tonight.

Sussman’s project, the world premiere of which took place in Thessaloniki last November, was inspired by the 1799 masterpiece which hangs in the Louvre in Paris. The painting depicts a chapter in the history of Rome, when founder Romulus ordered the abduction of the Sabine women in order to provide his city with much-needed wives.

The artist has set her own take on the story in the 1960s and uses a real meat market, the Varvakeios Market in central Athens, as the scenery for the abduction. At the same time, the ancient myth acts as a vehicle for exploring violence, aggression and the hot issue of the battle between the sexes.

Shot in Athens, on Hydra and in Berlin, the video-opera features an international cast, including Themis Bazaka, Savina Yannatou and Jeff Wood.

At the Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos Street, Athens, tel 210 3453111. The performance starts at 9.30 p.m.

“A backward National Anthem” for the stage July 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Stage & Theater.
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Michail Marmarinos restages ‘modern classic’ for festival > Dimitris Dimitriadis’s ‘Theseum Ensemble’ explores the dark side.

Often referred to, despite being relatively recent, “I Am Dying Like a Country, Theseum Ensemble,” a play which has been called “an alternate National anthem for our land” by the stage director Michail Marmarinos, ranks as one of the country’s few modern Greek classics in literature.

The work is being staged for the Athens Festival by Marmarinos, an innovative artist, with his regular cast of collaborators, including composer Dimitris Kamarotos, set designer Kenny MacLellan and costume designer Dora Lelouda. The second of two performances is scheduled for tonight.

Though it is not being presented for the first time, the latest staging of “I Am Dying Like a Country, Theseum Ensemble,” a multilayered play that has previously been staged both domestically and abroad, arguably rates as the most thorough attempt to date. This assertion is supported by the active involvement of its playwright Dimitris Dimitriadis among the project’s 200-member team. It includes over 20 actors, both seasoned and newcomers, numerous volunteers, a heroic effort considering this summer’s repeated heat waves, as well as a veteran Greek popular singer Beba Blans in a highly anticipated non-singing role.

“I Am Dying Like a Country, Theseum Ensemble” has been described as a static procession of people that seems to spring from the first texts of the Old Testament and continue, without end, up until the present day.

Commenting on the project, Marmarinos explained that no stage is used in the production: An enormous queue comprising hundreds of participants will stretch from outside the venue into the venue.

“But the audience will be able to observe what’s happening along the entire line via live footage. The queue moves only slightly. It doesn’t parade… You can’t talk about a country without the necessary masses… a large entity of people on which the laws of history, society, collective behavior, mankind and lineage is imprinted,” explained Marmarinos about his highly unorthodox approach. “This is the image I had from the beginning, before I even began studying the text closer… It’s impossible for me to imagine any other way of staging this play.”

Marmarinos rates the play’s text as fundamental reading “for various reasons, especially because of its profundity in terms of what we call the darker side of a nation, not the brighter sides, the gloomy ones. I think the more we know about our bleaker side, the greater our chances of achieving consummation… This play is a backward national anthem for the country.” The stage director added that this play and its writer made him feel proud to be “living in a country that’s dying, but possesses people like Dimitriadis and certain others…”

Tonight at 9 p.m., Pireos 260, Stage D. Tickets from the Athens Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens.

Polish composer prepares for world premiere in Greece July 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life Classical.
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Zbigniew Preisner’s ‘Silence, Night and Dreams’ > ‘Music and culture cannot really change things dramatically, but we have an obligation to speak up,’ says Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner.

The celebrated Polish film score composer Zbigniew Preisner will be presenting a selection of works composed for the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski, as well as a new piece featuring Madredeus singer Teresa Salgueiro on vocals at the Herod Atticus Theater on September 4.

The composer recently presented the program for the evening, when Preisner will conduct, in the first part, the Contemporary Music Orchestra of ERT – Greek Radio and Television, the Athens University Chorus, singers Salgueiro and Thomas Cully from Liberia, and a group of Polish, Swedish and English instrumental soloists, in the world premiere of “Silence, Night and Dreams,” which is expected to be released worldwide by EMI Classics in September/October 2007.

Sung in Latin and English and based on texts from the Old Testament’s Book of Job and St Matthew’s Gospel, as well as words by Pope John Paul II and the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert, the lyrics of the title song are written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Polish lawyer, screenwriter and politician.

At the press presentation, Preisner said that he drew his inspiration for the large-scale piece by looking at the world around him as it is today. “There is a lot going on that is not necessarily for the best,” he said. “Walking around Athens, I think it is a metaphysical experience to be walking in the footsteps of ancient philosophers and it gets me thinking about the fall of ancient civilizations. I don’t want to see the same happening to ours. Music and culture cannot really change things dramatically, but we have an obligation to speak up.”

The uncontrolled evolution of civilization is something that bothers him. “I remember that in the 1960s there was no electricity in my grandparents’ village. Today we have iPods, cell phones, e-mail. But we are becoming lonely and unhappy.” Preisner does not dispense with technology however, arguing that it should be used where necessary. “I see cases where the technology outdoes the artist and I find that pathetic. I am not interested in replacing the orchestra with electronic instruments. I use technology to create sounds that a symphonic orchestra cannot.”

The second part of the evening will feature the same orchestra conducted by Andreas Pylarinos. The program includes a suite of Preisner’s film scores including the themes from “La Double Vie de Veronique” and “Three Colours Blue.”

On his long-time collaboration with Kieslowski, Presiner says: “The first thing he taught me was to think. The second was to try to describe the world around me and the third was that anything you do should be approached with seriousness and precision.”

Hellenic Festival, tel 210 3272000.

Related Links > http://www.greekfestival.gr/athens_fest/home_page?lang=en

Athens Festival 2007 > Epidaurus Festival July 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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The Athens Epidaurus Festival 2007 will take place once again in various venues around Greece with the participation of artists from Greece and abroad. It’s program embraces music, theatre and dance performances.

List of venues >
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Peiraios 260
Scholeion
Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall
Porta Theatre
Greek National Opera, Olympia Theatre
Technopolis
Faliro Pavillion
Benaki Museum
Epidaurus Ancient Theatre
Ancient Epidaurus Little Theatre

For additional information please visit > http://www.greekfestival.gr/athens_fest/home_page?lang=en

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