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Mikis Theodorakis Dies at 96

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He was a Greek composer and lyricist credited with over 1,000 works.

Mikis Theodorakis Dies at 96

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Mikis Theodorakis has died at age 96. Renowned as a composer, a conductor, a fighter, Theodorakis was one of the pillars of contemporary Greek identity from the Metapolitefsi period onwards (1974-), one of the leading, most prolific and influential representatives of Greece both inside the country and around the world.

An iconic figure of Greek Music, whose visionary, vast oeuvre encompasses symphonic Music and Opera, compositions written specifically for Theatre and Cinema, and even popular oratorios and entechno (art) music, Mikis Theodorakis showcased Greek language in a unique way, setting poems by celebrated Greek and international poets to music - namely Angelos Sikelianos, Andreas Kalvos, Odysseas Elytis, Yiannis Ritsos, George Seferis, Manolis Anagnostakis, as well as Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Brendan Beha; poems which, thanks to his music, became songs in everybody's lips, a world heritage. His name became synonymous with the fight against the military junta in Greece and the revolutionary movements in Europe and North America from the 1960s onwards, as his songs passionately conveyed the travails and struggles of the Greek people for freedom and self-determination. The epic, revolutionary power of his music lies precisely in this crucial, vital interconnection between rhythm, lyrics, and national ordeal(s).

According to Theodorakis, "my greatest ambition is to faithfully serve poetry, especially modern Greek poetry - to the extent that, whenever one listens to one of my songs, one won't be able to imagine this music accompanying a different text, or a poem set in a different music". Theodorakis fulfilled this ambition to the highest possible degree. If poetry, coming alive through the words of distinctive poets who have written in Greek (or have been translated into Greek) indeed constitutes our national narrative, when one listens to Mikis' music, one is not able to enjoy it independently of the history and self-definition of modern-day Greece.

Three days of national mourning have been declared to honour Mikis Theodorakis' passing.

During these three days, a moment of silence will be observed in every Athens Epidaurus Festival performance. The 2022 Athens Epidaurus Festival artistic programme will also include a special tribute to his work.

Mikis Theodorakis is inextricably bound with the history of both the Athens Festival and the Epidaurus Festival. Since the late 1970s, he was regularly active at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, either in his capacity as conductor or with specific works of his being performed by major orchestras under the baton of other conductors.


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