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Hellenic Festival > events July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Hellenic Festival’s events are held at different venues around the capital as well as Epidaurus in the Peloponnese and start at 9 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Hellenic Festival box office, situated at 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3272000.

– Tonight > Under the baton of Marc Minkowski, the Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble orchestra and choir will perform excerpts of works by Faure, Berlioz and Bizet, along with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. Change of venue > from the Herod Atticus Theater to the Athens Concert Hall, due to the heat wave. Starts at 10 p.m. Nearest metro station > Megaron.

– Tomorrow > Melodic ballads by Norah Jones, who will be accompanied by musicians Lee Alexander, Andy Borger, Adam Levy and Daru Oda, with M. Ward as a special guest. At the Herod Atticus Theater, situated at the hillfoot of The Acropolis. Nearest metro station > Acropolis. 

– Friday and Saturday > Greek music by singer and songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos, who will join forces with pianist/composer Stavros Lantsias and bassist Giotis Kiourtsoglou. At the Little Theater of Ancient Epidaurus.

– Saturday > Under the baton of Christopher Hogwood, the Camerata Orchestra will perform a number of compositions by Mozart, joined by soprano Patrizia Ciofi. At the Herod Atticus Theater. See above.

Avant-garde Synch Festival July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Tonight > The live music program for the last day of the avant-garde Synch Festival features shows by Iceland’s electronica masters Mum as well as German electronica poet AGF.

Local participations include Dread Astaire and Absent Without Leave while there will also be performances by Biomass, Onur Ozer, Method of Defiance and many others.

Tickets are available at the Hellenic Festival box office, situated at 39 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3272000.

At the Technopolis Arts Complex
100 Pireos Street, Gazi, Athens, tel 210 3461589.

Gentle diva Norah Jones comes to Athens July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Grammy winning US-born singer-songwriter to perform at the Herod Atticus Theater tomorrow

Gentle diva. The artist’s appearance in Athens tomorrow is a co-production of the Hellenic Festival and the Halandri Arts Center. The concert will take place at the Herod Atticus Theater.

The velvet voice of Norah Jones takes over the Herod Atticus Theater tomorrow, with the American-born artist giving a sold-out concert as part of this year’s Athens Festival. A best-selling singer-songwriter and musician, Jones comes to Athens accompanied by the Handsome Band and M. Ward as special guest. The concert, a co-production of the Athens Festival and the Halandri Arts Center, is part of the artist’s ongoing, international 2007 tour which ends in Reykjavic on September 2.

An artist with a musical penchant for jazz, sprinkled with soft country, Jones recently made her first appearance as an actress, in Kar Wai Wong’s “My Blueberry Nights,” alongside Jude Law, David Strathairn, Tim Roth, Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz.

Born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar in Brooklyn in 1979, Jones is the daughter of India’s leading sitar soloist Ravi Shankar and was brought up by her mother in the United States. Estranged from her father, Jones grew up with the music of Bill Evans, Billie Holiday and Willie Nelson. Her musical gifts were apparent from an early age: While at high-school, she earned the DownBeat Student Music Award for Best Jazz Vocalist twice as well as one for Best Original Composition. Singing in church choirs, playing the piano and with a short stint as a saxophone player, Jones enrolled at the University of North Texas, majoring in piano. Two years later, however, she was off to New York, performing with various bands, including Wax Poetic, the Peter Malick group and guitarist Charlie Hunter.

Her major breakthrough came in 2002, when her debut album “Come Away with Me,” became an instant hit, selling over 20 million copies. Released two years later, “Feels Like Home” sold over 14 million copies, while her third album, “Not Too Late,” was released earlier this year and contains a collection of songs written or co-written by the artist. In 2003, Jones won no fewer than seven Grammy Awards, followed by two in 2005.

At the age of 27, Jones is enjoying tremendous international recognition, yet tries to keep stardom from interfering with her work. Her dedication was apparent during the making of “Not Too Late,” her most personal album to date. Working quietly on her songs, executives at the celebrated Blue Note Records were not even aware of the fact that their accomplished star was producing a new album.

Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou Street, tel 210 3272000.

Greek National Theater to stage Racine’s ‘Andromache’ July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Stage & Theater.
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The Greek National Theater’s ‘Andromache’ premieres at Epidaurus Ancient Theater tomorrow and Saturday

Jean Racine’s “Andromache,” a tragedy in five acts inspired by an extract of Virgil’s Aeneid, marks the first major production of the Greek National Theater for the summer season. Dimitris Mavrikios, a longtime scholar of Racine’s work and the man behind this production, has also translated, adapted and is directing the play.

Andromache, a figure of myth, daughter of the King of Kilkis, widow of Hector and mother of Astyanax, is one of the most noble characters in the works of Homer and Euripides. First published in 1667, “Andromache” is the play that made Racine’s name, signaling his break from Baroque conventions. His free interpretation of the character and his divergence from the legend marked one of the earliest steps toward modern drama.

The Greek National Opera cast is led by Lydia Fotopoulou as Andromache, Maria Kehagioglou as Hermione, Nikos Karathanos as Pyrrhus and Christos Loulis as Orestes.

The production will premiere at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus tomorrow and Saturday in the context of the Hellenic Festival, and will then go on tour.

Hellenic Festival, tel 210 3272000; Greek National Theater, tel 210 5288100 and 210 5220585.

Synch, a festival of new sights and sounds now in Gazi July 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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Three days of digital movies, new media, music > !!!, pronounced ‘chk chk chk,’ is just one of the acts taking part in the musical part of this year’s Synch, a festival exploring the relationship between art and technology.

The relationship between technology and contemporary art continues to be explored at the Synch Festival, which now, in its fourth year, is presented within the context of the Athens Festival. A celebration of new sounds and images, Synch has been moved from Lavrion to the center of Athens and is taking place from Sunday to July 24 at the Technopolis Arts Complex in Gazi.

The new technologies in the art section of Synch, one of the festival’s most popular parts, involve the moving image and new means of technology, focusing on digital movies, animation use and/or special digital effects.

According to organizers, the aim of the “Digital Cinema” tribute is to provide a platform for Greek productions that use special effects and animation, as well as presenting the most important international trends in this field.

The program “Moving Image: Digital Cinema” is broken up into two basic categories: The first category comprises short-length movies, animation and experimental films, while the second will showcase commercial productions, such as advertisements, VFX artists’ show reels and music videos. Finally, an important part of the program covers presentations by Australian VFX supervisor Tim Baier, who has worked with major productions, such as “Lord of the Rings,” “Batman Returns” and “Fantastic Four”, and 3D computer animator Dimitris Liatsos.

Screenings and presentations take place in the 9.84 Amphitheater at Technopolis. In rooms D10 and D12, there will be a presentation of works from the “New Media” chapter of the event, as well as an exhibition on “Invisible Systems.” The exhibition presents artists and initiatives that exemplify new media strategies on different cultural levels, and reflect the strategies in their concepts, content and form.

According to the exhibit’s curators Alexandra Landre and Antonis Pittas, ‘Invisible Systems’ is not about making a definite academic distinction or presenting new media as a genre but sees that the language of new media is infiltrating all kinds of cultural production and creating new dialects.”

A similar point of view also imbues the musical part of the festival. Some 60 bands and DJs will perform at the three-day festival, from 7 p.m. till way past midnight, at four different venues.

Acts that stand out are Fischerspooner, which conquered the dance scene with their album “No 1,” and took a more emotional tone with their next album, “Odyssey.” Another band performing live is !!!. Usually pronounced “chk, chk, chk,” the act’s name can be pronounced by uttering any kind of repetitive sound with three intervals. In fact, its record label is currently accepting fans’ proposals for alternate interpretations of the three exclamation marks.

The band’s most recent, third, album, “Myth Takes,” is a collage of sounds with heavy bass lines, guitars and electro-house sounds, fusing 70s Jamaican dub with 21st century club music. At the same time, however, !!! doesn’t shy away from the sweet pop sound.

For more information visit > www.synch.gr

Early Synch Festival takes its vibe to Athens July 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Method of Defiance headlines 4th avant-garde music event, July 22-24

Bernie Worrell spent his childhood playing with symphonies, but later discovered sounds beyond classical.

Now set to enter its fourth year, the Synch Festival, undoubtedly the local concert circuit’s most avant-garde annual summer music event, returns earlier than usual, from July 22 to 24, at a different venue, the Technopolis Complex in Gazi, downtown Athens.

There is an important reason for the event’s venue and date switch from September. For the first time, the Synch Festival is being held within the framework of the Hellenic Festival, the Culture Ministry’s state-supported summer cultural series. All three previous Synch events had been staged on the outskirts of Athens, in Lavrion, at the Technological and Cultural Park, whose facilities once operated as the country’s first power plant.

Performing on the final night, Method of Defiance ranks as the highlight event on the three-day schedule’s sizable offering of some 40 live shows and 10 DJ sets.

Method of Defiance features Bill Laswell, without exaggeration one of the most prolific artists in contemporary music, as performer, producer and label chief, and a longtime pivotal figure on New York City’s underground scene. His bass-heavy and intriguingly atmospheric fusion has drawn a worldwide cult following for Laswell, who has worked at a relentless rate of several albums a year since the early 80s.

Guest appearances on well-received recordings by the likes of David Byrne, John Zorn, and Fred Frith established Laswell as an important musical figure in New York City’s musical community. In 1983, Laswell entered the mainstream with his production of Herbie Hancock’s smash hit «Rockit» which he co-wrote. Not long afterward, Laswell became even more ubiquitous, playing bass on albums by a variety of major acts, including Mick Jagger, Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, and Yoko Ono.

Also on board Method of Defiance is another prominent figure, Bernie Worrell, who is expected in Athens about a fortnight after a show here by a former legendary band leader of his, the funk pioneer George Clinton. Worrell, a child protege on the piano, united forces with Clinton in 1970 as a member of Funkadelic for the groundbreaking and influential act’s debut album «Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow.»

A classically trained pianist at 3 years old, Worrell spent his childhood playing with symphonies and orchestras but later on discovered sounds beyond classical. By the time he went to college, Worrell had begun playing with a number of local bands before meeting Clinton for an extended and fertile stretch into new musical territory. Worrell remained with Clinton and Funkadelic’s successor act P-Funk until the early 80s. He then joined The Talking Heads as both a session contributor and touring musician with the new wave-funk band right through its split in the early 90s.

Besides the performing bands and DJ sets, the Synch Festival will also feature workshops, lectures, and a section focused on the examination and presentation of new media.

For schedule details and ticket information > www.synch.gr

Forsythe tribute ends with performance installation “Heterotopia” July 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera, Hellenic Athens Festival.
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The show will open tonight and will run to Saturday at the Pireos 260 venue. It is performed by Yoko Ando, Esther Balfe, Francesca Caroti, Dana Caspersen, Marthe Krummenacher, Roberta Mosca, Nicole Peisi and Yiannis Mandafounis, among others.

The Athens Festival’s tribute to acclaimed choreographer William Forsythe will end with one of Forsythe’s more recent works, the performance-installation “Heterotopia” performed by the Forsythe Company at the Pireos 260 venue tonight to Saturday.

If one assumes that dance has always held a defining role in the arts, then that concept was given new meaning by Forsythe. His Forsythe Company became the tool for exploration. “Heterotopia”, something between a performance and an installation, appeals to more than one of the audience’s senses. Powerful movement and speech, set against an unconventional setting, public venues and museums, are the materials used by the inventive choreographer. It is a study on the nature of interpretation and its failed efforts to provide explanations. The work is divided into two complementary parts.

The music is by Thom Willems and the sound mixing is by Dietrich Kruger and Niels Lanz. The costumes were designed by Dorothee Merg. The production features interpreters Yoko Ando, Esther Balfe, Francesca Caroti, Dana Caspersen, Marthe Krummenacher, Roberta Mosca, Nicole Peisi, Yiannis Mandafounis, Fabrice Mazliah, Christopher Roman, Yasutake Shimaji, Ander Zabala, Jone San Martin, Elizabeth Waterhouse, Cyril Baldy, Amancio Gonzalez and David Kern.

For tickets call 210 3272000.