Theodorakis - Chronology (XII)

The Living Legend (I)  1999-2000

 by Guy Wagner and Asteris Koutoulas

Structure and pictures: Guy Wagner


Beginning of 1999: Publication of: Mikis Theodorakis: "Melopimeni Poisi. B Tomos / Symphonika, Metasymphonika, Oratoria" (Ypsilon, Athen): the texts of all the lyrics in his symphonies, his "flow-songs" and oratorios, excellently documented, with many photos, a lot of them unknown

February 1999  Once again, Mikis Theodorakis has become the centre of a controversy in Greece. His unwillingness to sign a statement condemning the Greek government for their supposed involvement in the handing over Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdulah Öcalan to the Turkish authorities and his failure to participate in the concert that took place in Syntagma Square have drawn support from most sectors of the Greek population and criticism from others. Several other artists also withdraw from the concert after a spokeswoman of Öcalan accused the Greek Prime minister of being part of an international conspiracy against Öcalan.

Theodorakis appeals to intellectuals and artists in Europe to join together in signing a petition to protest the European position on Öcalan; to demand that a just trial of the Kurdish leader be held and that European observers be permitted to attend it; to ensure full human rights for all Kurds, especially for those living in Turkey.

March 1999   Theodorakis is one of the first to denounce the Kosovo War and the NATO's raids against Serbia.

26.04.  Theodorakis  takes center stage in a highly successful concert in support of the Yugoslav people. Facing a cheering crowd, he states: "We are about to enter another Middle Age era... We shall stand by the victims, by the Serbs. We want our singing today to overpower the air raid sirens and the missile blasts".

 Mikis sings for the Greek Syndicate

29.04.  The Greek Syndicate at their 80th anniversary honours Theodorakis. He gives a highly applauded concert at the Stadium "Irinis ke Filias"

 03.05.   Alexander Lycouresos, the most prominent criminal lawyer of Greece, files on behalf of Mikis Theodorakis a complaint before the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague against the "political and military leadership of NATO for war crimes, that were perpetrated through the bombings from March 24 to May 1, 1999 against the Former Yugoslavia".

06.05.   At the Radio socio-culturelle (100,7 FM) in Luxembourg, Guy Wagner launches a series of 170 broadcasts to present the complete works by Theodorakis. It will last until 26 December 2002.

 12.05.   Lycouresos is to meet the two assistants of the prosecutor at The Hague. Theodorakis's actions against war and for peace find a stunning echo in the Greek population, especially the young people.

 16.05.   Theodorakis is declared honorary citizen of the Cypriot coastal town of Limassol. His opera "Elektra" is performed by soloists, choirs and orchestra of the Opera of Bucharest, organised by the "Balkan Forum" initiated by Mikis. At a peace march held in Larnaca to condemn Turkey's occupation of parts of Cyprus, the presence of British Bases on the island and NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, Theodorakis addresses participants.

 Theodorakis cheered in Cyprus

17.05.   President Glafcos Clerides of Cyprus bestows a special award on Theodorakis to express Cypriot gratitude and appreciation for his support and solidarity with the people of Cyprus in their struggle for justice and freedom.

18.05.   Theodorakis is declared honorary citizen of the Municipality of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta.

18.-22.06.   Theodorakis in Belgrad:. Open air concert (20.6.), on the square of Democracy,  with the Popular Orchestra "Mikis Theodorakis" and Serbian musicians and singers, and the Ballet "Zorbas" (21.6) performed by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of Belgrad. Theodorakis conducts the second part. He meets Slobodan Milosevic to speak about the problems concerning peace, liberty and human rights.

 27.06.  Following a cancer  illness, Georgios Papadopoulos, the Greek army colonel who led the infamous 1967 military coup, died - unrepentant - in an Athens hospital at the age of 80.

 Mikis Theodorakis and Henning Schmiedt

25.07.   Highly successful World Premiere of the version for chamber orchestra by Henning Schmiedt of Theodorakis's opera: "Kostas Karyotakis - The Metamorphosis of Dionysos" at the European Festival Weeks in Passau (Germany).

 01.08.  "Axion Esti" in Chania (Crete). Conductor: Mikis Theodorakis.


Theodorakis cheered after the performance of
"The Song of the dead Brother"
(Photo: Guy Wagner)


06.08. Premiere of "The Song of the dead Brother" at Ancient Olympia. Actors of Theater STOA. Stage director: Thanasis Papageorgiou, Singer: Dimitris Mitropanos. Bouzouki: Lakis Karnezis, Kostas Papadopoulos, piano: Tasos Karakatsanis, music director. The musical tragedy is touring in Greece and Cyprus during August and beginning of September.

17.08.  A 45-second earthquake of Richter magnitude 7.4 (M7.4) occurs in Turkey. The Greek are among the first to help. Theodorakis and Zülfü Livaneli organise concerts for the benefit of the victims in Istanbul and Athens for September 7 and 8. The concerts are cancelled because on September 7, at 14:56 local time, a strong earthquake with magnitude 5.9, occurs close to the city of Athens.

27.08. - 28.08    In Prespes (Northern Greece), Symphony orchestras and choirs from Yugoslavia, Sofia and other Balkan countries perform "Zorba" and "Requiem". Mikis Theodorakis' candidature for the Nobel Peace Prize is formally announced at the Prespes arts festival within the framework of a concert he conducts in the presence of Prime minister Costas Simitis in the small island of Agios Achillios near the city of Florina.
The announcement of his candidature for the Nobel Peace prize as well as the presentation of the names of the 200 intellectuals backing it will be
made by author Giorgos Skourtis.

03.09.   The University and the Major of Patra honour Theodorakis.

 04.09.   Epidaurus: The Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of Radio-TV Belgrade perform a work of Theodoros Antoniou and "Zorbas". The concert is organised by the Greek Ministry of Defence.

 Antigone (Tzeni Drivala)mourns the dead

 07.10.  World Premiere of  "Antigone", Theodorakis's last opera, at Megaron, Athens. Director: Vassilis Nikolaidis, lights: Hans-Ake Sjöquist, with Tzeni Drivala (Antigone), Daphni Evangelatou (Jocaste), etc. Choirs of the National Lyric Scène & Kratiki Orchestra Athino, conductor: Loukas Karytinos (4 performances)

 12.10.  The first of three concerts for the benefit of the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey and Greece is held in Istanbul by  Theodorakis, Livaneli, Farantouri and the Berlin Musicians. It is followed by a concert in Athens (13.10) and one in Berlin (15.10.)

28.10.  The Holocaust in Greece Series Concluding Concert for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington features Maria Farantouri and Mikis Theodorakis with "Mauthausen". Art Director is Gert Hof.

 The light show by Gert Hof

 31.12.  23:00 h.  Concert with music by Mikis Theodorakis with the orchestra "Enarmonia" and a folk orchestra. Maria Farantouri and Marios Fragoulis, conducted by Lukas Karytinos, followed at noon by a spectacular display of light and music: A total of 5,000 searchlights and hundreds of lamps, combined with thousands of fireworks. illuminate the Parthenon and all of Attica for 25 minutes on the music of the ballet "Zorba the Greek" by Theodorakis. The event is directed by Gert Hof.



Beginning of  2000   Publication of: Mikis Theodorakis: "Melopimeni Poisi. C Tomos / Opera" (Ypsilon, Athen): the texts of the four operas composed by Theodorakis: "Karyotakis", "Medea, "Electra" and "Antigone".

15.02. - 17.02.2000  Aristotelion University Thessalonica: Theodorakis, Doctor honoris causa. Three days of conferences, exposés, speeches, concerts.

21.02.  Cooperation between the Edition „Romanos” of Theodorakis and the world famous Edition Schott is announced in Athens.

29.02.  Theodorakis's candidacy for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Athens's Old Parliament Building by  the committee composed of playwright Giorgos Skourtis, Parliament deputy Giorgos Lianis and Giorgos Pantagias, which nominated him. The candidacy is endorsed by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, all opposition parties, municipal leaders, representatives from Cyprus and of the Central Jewish Council of Greece and signatories from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Turkey and many other countries.

05.03.   Theodorakis's "Mauthausen"-Cycle is sung by Penelope Bizas, accompanied by William Lumpkin, piano, at the Public Library in Boston (USA) as part of The Jews of Greece: History, Holocaust & Revival.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "costas simitis"Costas Simitis

09.04.  Prime minister Costas Simitis and PASOK win the anticipated elections in Greece.PASOK is assured of 158 seats in the new Parliament and New Democracy 125 seats. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), garners 5.51 percent giving them 11 seats, while the Coalition of the Left and Progress Party (SYN) with 3.19 percent, win six seats. The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) fails to gain a seat in parliament, as its 2.69 percent score is less than the three-percent needed to enter parliament. Former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, who had to resign after the "Öcalan-Affair" is nominated at the Culture ministry.

27.05.  ARTE presents "Sun and Time", the film by Klaus Salge and Asteris Kutulas, based upon Theodorakis's arrest in August 1967, the poems he wrote at that time and the performance of his song-cycle in Berlin, November 1998, with Rainer Kirchmann and Maria Farantouri.

11.06.  First US-performance of Theodorakis's opera "Electra" at Carnegy Hall, New York.

29.07.   Theodorakis's 75th Birthday is celebrated in Munich (Königsplatz) with a double-billed concert: (1.) A "Tribute to Mikis" by some of his greatest singers Maria del Mar Bonet (Spain), Maria Farantouri (Greece), Zülfü Livaneli (Turkey), Milva (Italy), Petros Pandis (Greece), Jocelyn B. Smith (USA), George Theodorakis (Greece), e.a. (2.)Excerpts of "Alexis Zorbas" and of Theodorakis's most famous Oratorios with the State Orchestra and Radio Choir Athens, conducted by Mikis himself.

13.10. The Nobel Peace Prize goes to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and not to Mikis Theodorakis, acclaimed by all the Greeks ... ... Another highly political and insignificant Nobel!

The cover of the biography realized by Claude Wagner

14.10. Presentation of Guy Wagners: Mikis Theodorakis. Une vie pour la Grèce, as part of a concert with Maria Farantouri and in the presence of the artist at Centre des Arts Pluriels Ettelbruck (CAPe, Luxembourg)

Dutoit and Theodorakis getting on well

20.10. A symphonic concert (Adagio, Zorba, Antigone) with works by Theodorakis is held at Lincoln Center in New York (Avery Fisher Hall), performed by the Choir and the Symphonic Orchestra of Montreal, under the direction of their chiec conductor, Charles Dutoit: A great success for all participants, particularly for Theodorakis himself.

23.10. Zorba the ballet is given at the Cairo Opera House (Egypt)

31.10. & 01.11. Maria Farantouri dedicates two concerts at the Melbourne Concert Hall in honour of Theodorakis for his 75th birthday.

Throughout the year, recitals in the Mitropoulos Hall (Megaron Mousikis Athens) with songs by Theodorakis, cycles for voice and piano (new arrangements of piano parts), are performed by all major Greek interpreters.  


© Guy Wagner & Asteris Koutoulas. All rights reserved