In co-operation with the Athens State Orchestra, in honour of the great Greek composer’s birthday

Tuesday 20 July | 21:00
Megaron the Athens Concert Hall

Mary-Ellen Nesi | mezzo
Tassos Apostolou | bass

Athens State Orchestra
Musical direction | Nikos Haliasas

In the context of the exhibition “My galaxy: Mikis Theodorakis”,
organised by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in co-operation with
The Friends of Music Society and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall

Megaron the Athens Concert Hall takes us on a journey to the musical galaxy of Mikis Theodorakis and visits some of his leading orchestral works, honouring the birthday of the great composer, who in 2021 celebrates 96 years of an active and creative life. In this festive tribute concert, presented in the Megaron’s Garden in co-operation with the Athens State Orchestra (free entrance with priority bulletins), the audience will have the opportunity to become acquainted with scholarly musical works by Theodorakis, such as the compositions “Oedipus Tyrant” overture for string orchestra, “Eros and Death” for mezzo soprano and string orchestra, Rhapsody for baritone and string orchestra, and “Raven”, symphonic poem for mezzo soprano, flute, two harps and strings. The solo voice parts are performed by two acclaimed lyrical artists, mezzo soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi and bass Tassos Apostolou. On the podium of the Athens State Orchestra will be the conductor Nikos Haliasas.

All health protection measures will be observed.


The works on the programme:

Oedipus Tyrant Although Mikis Theodorakis began writing this work in 1947, he completed it several years later, in 1958, in Paris. Oedipus Tyrant was first performed on 8 December 1958 by the State Orchestra under the direction of Andreas Paridis at the Kotopouli-Rex Theatre, and was recorded two years later, in 1960, by the same ensemble.

Love and Death The songs of the cycle Love and Death were written on two different dates and are dedicated to Myrto Altinoglou, the composer’s life partner. According to Theodorakis himself, he wrote the music and the lyrics of the cycle’s first song, Words of Love, in 1945, while waiting for her on a date in Nea Smyrni, and a few days after that he composed the song If you are looking for words, again to his own lyrics. Three years later, in 1948, while exiled to Dafni on the island of Icaria, he wrote Forgetfulness and Love and Death, setting to music poems by Lorentzos Mavilis, and decided to integrate all four songs into one cycle: Love and Death.

Rhapsody for baritone and string orchestra The work is one of the last works of the composer, who has himself called it his “swan song” (2013?). The work is set to poetry by Dionysis Karatzas and is dedicated to his German friend Peter Hanser-Strecker, as a tribute by the composer to the country he calls “the homeland of his symphonic work”.

Raven The work was written in 1970, when Theodorakis, then held in Oropos Prison, heard about the death of composer Jani Christou in a car accident. In a state of strong emotional agitation, he composed a work that would allow him to communicate with the departed composer, whom he knew personally, and keep him alive inside him. This was achieved by setting to music George Seferis’ poem Raven.

For more information

T: 210 72 82 333