Greek Bicentennial Show Goes on Despite Pandemic (Photos)

ATHENS (AP) — Dozens of museum exhibitions, theater productions, discussion panels and historical re-enactments were planned in Greece for this year to commemorate the bicentennial of the 1821-1832 Greek War of Independence.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, mezzo-soprano Artemis Bogri and her fellow singers stepped onstage in an empty theater to perform the Greek National Opera’s new production of “Despo,” one of the events marking 200 years since the war that resulted in Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire and rebirth as a nation.

With her sword raised but defeat certain, the title character in composer Pavlos Carrer's 1875 opera chooses death over captivity, detonating ammunition stored in a fortress as Ottoman forces close in.

“Fire! Fire!” Bogri sang in Despo Botsi's final moments as machine-generated smoke billowed out over the stage during a performance recorded for streaming-only events scheduled for May.

“I can tell you, that sword is real and it’s heavy,” the soloist chuckled after the show, still costumed in a headscarf, brocade waistcoat and wide-sleeved pleated blouse.

“Artists prepare two or three months for a production and then take that work to an audience,” she said. “Now, we have to generate that energy with no one there. That’s not easy.”

Greece gained its independence after a grueling nine-year war. A century later, the Greeks were on the losing side in Asia Minor as modern Turkey was created out of the collapsing Ottoman Empire.

Bicentennial events intended to display Greece's modern accomplishments have been postponed, scaled back or moved online because of the pandemic. National parades by school children set for Greece's March 25 independence day holiday were canceled Friday amid the latest surge in COVID-19 infections.

Like the National Opera, other cultural institutions formed small work teams to salvage their celebration plans even as they faced acute financial pressure due to lockdown measures now in their fifth consecutive month.

Actors and singers working on the production of “Despo” wore masks during most rehearsals, many driven by a stubborn resolve, Bogri said.

“It’s the creative arts that helped us keep going" during the pandemic, she said. “But the sad irony is that, after all this is over, there will be fewer of us left. A large part of the arts world will be swept away.”




ATHENS – Among the most prominent shipowners of their different generations, Dimitris Manios (1952-1995) and Michael J.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

THRU JUNE 4 NEW YORK – The third iteration of the Carte Blanche project featuring Maria Antelman with the work ‘The Seer (Deep)’ opened on April 19 and runs through June 4, Monday-Friday 9 AM-2:30 PM, at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, 69 East 79th Street in Manhattan.

ATHENS – An Archieratical Divine Liturgy and a memorial service honoring the 50th dark anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus at the Metropolis – the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Athens – marked the beginning of the 4th Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Sunday, May 26.

NEW YORK – Greek-American Republican congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis gave a strong and clear response to reports by American media such as The Hill and Politico regarding the purpose of her presence at the trial in the well-known ‘hush money’ case against former President Donald Trump.

NIKOSIA - Dust and other potentially toxic emissions are being caused by renovations at the Makarios Children’s Hospital in Nicosia which specializes in treating cancer cases, charities helping there have complained.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.