Theodorakis - Chronology (XI)

Honours and Homages  1997-1998

by Guy Wagner and Asteris Koutoulas

   Structure and pictures: Guy Wagner




January  Mikis Theodorakis finishes his Concerto for cello and orchestra and transforms it into a Rhapsody for cello and orchestra.

 Due to the permanent tensions in the Aegean Sea, Mikis Theodorakis and Zülfü Livaneli decide to undertake a European tour of Concerts for Peace, whose highlight is to be a concert at the “green border” of Nicosia (Cyprus) in June 1997.

 20.02. For the 850 years of the city of Moscow, one of contributions of Greece should be in September 1998, the ballet “Zorba the Greek”, under the direction of Mikis Theodorakis, ANA reports.

  Andreas Lentakis: "Imaste dio"

22.03. Andreas Lentakis, co-founder of the "Political Spring" (Pol.An), to whom Mikis Theodorakis dedicated his "Songs for Andreas" during the dictatorship, dies and is buried with these songs.

12.04. "Alexis Zorba", directed by Mikis Theodorakis, is performed at the National Theater of Skopje, capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The performance is part of a two-month-old initiative by Greek members of parliament, academics, politicians and ordinary citizens, aiming at promoting friendship between the two countries. "The burden for the defense of co-operation and freedom in the region of the Balkans, which is going through critical hours, falls on the shoulders of ordinary people," Mikis Theodorakis said in a message.

The concert is attended by FYROM President Kiro Gligorov, top members of the government, representatives of the diplomatic corps and 200 guests from Greece.

"Cultural activities can bring only positive results," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas says commenting on the concert, but he adds that the government “neither supports nor undermines cultural activities”.

 Mid April  In St. -Petersburg, the recording for CD of Theodorakis’s “Requiem” with the Chapel of State, under the composer's direction, is finished.

 Livaneli, Kinkel, Theodorakis in Bonn

29.04. An official dinner held in the Petersberg State House near Bonn, in honor of Mikis Theodorakis and Zülfü Livaneli by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel is seen by political observers as "a significant political gesture". Mr. Kinkel underlines his wish "to become involved and to help so that what was started by Theodorakis and Livaneli can become a broad movement which will bring Greeks and Turks together."

During a joint press conference in Bonn, Mr. Theodorakis and Mr. Livaneli noted the new, positive climate which is developing between Greece and Turkey: "This is independent of what is happening at the summit of politics and of what arms dealers, who are draining the blood of the two peoples, are doing," Mr. Theodorakis said, and accused the major European countries and the United States of hypocrisy.

 04.05. The first triumphal concert of Theodorakis and Livaneli under the slogan: "Together - oli masi - birlikte" at the House of Cultures of the World in Berlin is at the same time the last. Mikis Theodorakis, after suffering respiratory problems during the three-hour concert cancels the concert tour. According to his physician, Dr. Christos Kalaitzis, the composer's condition is stable, although he is "in immediate need of tests and therapy... His life is not in danger, but he must stop immediately," says Dr. Kalaitzis.

The tour continues with Maria Farantouri. Tropical Music publishes a live recording of the great moments of the Berlin concert.

During the following months news of Theodorakis’s state of health  stay a topic of concern. Especially serious, it the fact that the composer writes no more music.

May  “O Polytikos Theodorakis (1940-1996)” by Pavlos Petrides is published in Athens.

 In summer and in fall, homages to Theodorakis accumulate: Delphi, Patras, Thessaloniki (Capital European of the Culture 1997), which is however not capable to produce, as announced, the opera “Antigone”: Allocated funds disappeared in dark channels.

17.06. The regional German television of the WDR broadcasts a new documentary TV feature on Theodorakis: “Cretan, Greek, European” of Peter Wortmann, with important productions around the composer's 70th birthday in 1995.

22.06. At a commemorative ceremony in honor of Andreas Papandreou, who died a year ago, speeches by the former French minister of the culture, Jack Lang, and the Greek prime minister, Costas Simitis, are followed by a concert with works by Mikis Theodorakis, conducted by Stavros Xarhakos, with the soloists Yorgos Dalaras, Maria Farantouri and Manolis Mitsias.

"Mikis", a great CD

Summer  Peregrina publishes under the title: "Mikis", a new CD, probably the more sensational and most introvert issue of the composer as singer. Jens Naumilkat has made the arrangements. Mikis sings twelve songs, only accompanied by a cello and a piano. Among these songs: “Snows falls in the night”, after the famous poem by Nazim Hikmet.

November  Publication of: Mikis Theodorakis: "Melopimeni Poisi. A Tomos / Tragoudia" (Ypsilon, Athen): all song-texts, excellently documented, with a lot of partially unknown photos.

November December: Maria Farantouri undertakes with six musicians around Henning Schmiedt a European concert tour under the title: “Poetica”. In its centre: the recent song cycles of Theodorakis: “Lyricotera” and “Lyricotata”.

 He conducts again

 16.12. During a moving ceremony, Theodorakis offers his personal archives to the Lilian Voudouri Library at Megaron.


23.04. Constantine Karamanlis, the former prime minister and president who guided Greece into the European Community membership, dies of a heart attack after a lung infection. He was 91.

 End of April  The recording on CD of the opera “Elektra”, under the direction of Mikis Theodorakis, is finished in St. Petersburg.

 04.05. A special concert by Maria Farantouri: “Asmata” is given in Mondorf (Luxembourg). A new tour is foreseen for November December 1998. Maria’s new and exceptional CD with the same title is published by Peregrina.

 Μίκης Θεοδωράκης - Τατιάνα ΠαπαγεωργίουTatiana Papgeorgiou and Theodorakis

25.05. Theodorakis directs his Concerto for piano with a big success at the Royal Festival Hall (Queen Elisabeth Hall) London, with Tatiana Papageorgiou as soloist and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. During the first part of the concert, Tatiana Papageorgiou plays the “Eleven Preludes”, the “Little Suite”, and, in creation: “Twelve Melos”, on the basis of “Lyricotera” and “Lyricotata”, arranged by her and Themis Symvoulopoulos.

May  Intuition Record publishes the 4th Symphony by Theodorakis.

June  Asteris Koutoulas presents in Athens: O Mousikos Theodorakis. Kimena - Ergographia – Kritikes” (A.A. Livani, Athens): the complete catalogue of the oeuvre of Theodorakis, a sum of materials and information, an indispensable publication.

After the performance: A happy Theodorakis

 22.07. Theodorakis directs at Irodion his “Zorba”, danced by the Ballet Company of the Opera of State of Athens in the choreography of Lorca Massine.

24. & 25.07. A homage is dedicated to Theodorakis at the Little Theatre of Epidaure. The first evening, Maria Farantouri sings, accompanied by the “Berliner Instrumentalisten”, under the title “Lyrika Asmata”, excerpts from “Poetica”, “Serenades” and “Asmata”. The second evening is dedicated to symphonic music of Mikis. The brilliant “Camerata”, excellently conducted by Loukas Karytinos, play the “Symphonietta”, “Raven”, with the soloist Daphne Evangelatos (mezzo-soprano), and “In a State of Siege”, with Maria Farantouri and Kostas Thomaidis, in presence of the Greek prime minister Costas Simitis. The composer is heartily welcomed.

12.09. In the Flämmereihalle at "VOEST-Alpine", Linz, Austria, Mikis Theodorakis conducts the creation of the symphonic version by Henning Schmiedt of the “Canto General”, with Markella Hatziana (mezzo-soprano), the Choir Ad libitum and the well known Orchestra Bruckner Linz.

 30.10. At the Philharmonic Hall of Munich, Mikis Theodorakis conducts himself the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine in the world premiere of his Rhapsody for cello and orchestra with the soloist Tatiana Vassilieva, and the creation of his Concerto for guitar and orchestra with Eliot  Fisk as soloist. In the second part of the program, Nikolai Dyadivra directs Theodorakis’s Symphony No.1.

New honours for a great man

08.-11.12. Theodorakis is nominated Doctor honoris causa by the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). 

 © Guy Wagner & Asteris Koutoulas. All rights reserved