ATHENS – Among the 5,000 people participating in the dusk to evening metamorphosis of the environs of the Acropolis on July 5 were some who had never experienced a performance at the incomparable Herodes Atticus Theatre or by the peerless Nana Mouskouri.
If asked, they would have said it was sheer magic.
The beloved international singing star – Mouskouri has mastered music and accents in numerous languages – is not what she once was – listen to the recordings and the word that comes to mind is “sensational” – but neither are thousands who relived their youth with whistles and applause all night long.
Resplendent in a black gown accented by an impossibly bright astronomical object that seemed to stand in place- listening to the music that rose from the sacred rock- for two wonderful hours while the rest of the heavens revolved around the heavenly and earthly star, she had the crowd at “geia sas,” for the first time for some, and again after many times for the rest.
After being visibly nervous at the start (she humbly apologized for it) Mouskouri’s voice strengthened and her passion carried her through and carried away myriad hearts.
There were wonderful renditions of Greek and non-Greek favorites, but the remarkable thing was the agape that filled the place- those 5,000 people love that woman, and she mystically returned it to them with moments of sheer joy.
When she sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and some people chanted the word, it was a spiritual experience.
A scintillating Over the Rainbow, a shimmering Amazing Grace added to the thrills, but Χαρτινο το Φεγγαρακι–Paper Moon, her signature song, which Mouskouri dedicated to composer Manos Hadjidakis, poet Nikos Gatsos, and her dear friend Melina Mercouri, with whom she shared songs throughout their careers, brought tears to the listeners, and to the singer.