Historic Concert in Athens Honors Mikis Theodorakis (Video)

A historic concert event to pay tribute to the great composer Mikis Theodorakis, Athens, June 19. Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis

ATHENS – All of Greece for Mikis – 1,000 Voices, a historic concert event with choirs from thirty cities and thousands in attendance to pay tribute to the great composer Mikis Theodorakis at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on June 19. The highlight of the evening was when the 91-year-old Theodorakis, in a wheelchair, conducted two of his most famous songs.

Health problems did not deter the world-renowned composer from rising twice from his wheelchair to show his appreciation for the audience. Just days before the concert, he said in an interview that his biggest wish was to stand up from his wheelchair and conduct his famous song To Perigiali to Kryfo (The Secret Beach).

The Athens Mandolinata Orchestra, dozens of musicians, soloists, opera singers, and actors under the direction of Panagis Berbatis gave their best performance to honor the “music conscience of Greece,” as reported on the blog Keep Talking Greece.

Πως να κοιμηθείς;;;

Yiannis Stankoglou 发布于 2017年6月19日

The audience of 50,000 people of all ages packed the stadium for this exceptional concert. Thunderous applause shook the ancient structure as the people expressed their appreciation for Theodorakis and sang along with the choirs and singers on the many classic songs that have left indelible traces not only for their artistic merit, but for their political meaning as well.

Theodorakis sat next to the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the President of the Greek Parliament Nikos Voutsis. The concert was organized under the auspices of the Presidency and sponsored by the Greek Parliament.

In a rare interview before the concert, Theodorakis noted that the concert is of great importance to him because it satisfies his symphonic self. “One song sung by 1,000 voices, that’s the ultimate happiness. That’s historic!” he said, as reported by Keep Talking Greece.

Theodorakis reportedly did not want “big names” performing at the concert, preferring to share a message of unity that is currently missing in Greece.

A historic concert event to pay tribute to the great composer Mikis Theodorakis, Athens, June 19. Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis

The beloved Theodorakis is known throughout Greece and the Diaspora by his first name. As many have noted, when they say “Mikis” everyone knows they are referring to Theodorakis.

In his remarkable career, Theodorakis has written over 1,000 songs and participated in over 2,500 concerts. Perhaps best known for composing the soundtrack to Zorba the Greek, Theodorakis has composed several film soundtracks over the years including other Michael Cacoyannis’ films Electra, The Trojan Women, and Iphigenia, as well as Sidney Lumet’s Serpico which starred Al Pacino.

The generations of Greeks who grew up with his songs continue to sing them regardless of political affiliation and in spite of the fact that Theodorakis has long been associated with the Greek Left. Though he had ties to the Communist Party, he served as government minister under right-wing Constantine Mitsotakis in the early 1990’s.

A historic concert event to pay tribute to the great composer Mikis Theodorakis, Athens, June 19. Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis

During the junta, Theodorakis was jailed, sent to prisoner’s camps, and then was allowed to go into exile after an international solidarity movement, led by such well-known personalities as Dmitri Shostakovich, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, and Harry Belafonte demanded his release. On the request of the French politician Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, Theodorakis was allowed to go into exile on April 13, 1970, flying to Paris secretly from an Onassis-owned private airport outside Athens. Theodorakis’ music was banned during the junta.

Today, he is revered for his outstanding contributions to music and to society at large. The historic concert was just a brief glimpse of how much Theodorakis means to Greece and Greeks everywhere.

2 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I attended this great concert. This evening was one of the greatest events I have attended.
    I am a big fan of Greece, the greek people, the greek Music and especially Mikis.
    During his exile he played many concerts in Germany an I went to almost every concert.
    I felt so touched to be sitting in this wonderful ancient theatre, listen to such great music and to see this great
    person who wrote all this wonderful music sitting there. At times I just cried. I feel very, very blessed that I had a chance to be part of this. I came was in Paros for 2 weeks and came to Athens just for this evening.
    Thank you Mikis

  2. will there be a DVD or CD from this great concert??? And if so, where can I get it?

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