Mikis Theodorakis is regarded as the greatest orchestral and choral composer in Greek history, having written over 1000 songs including epic orchestra masterpieces, and the internationally famed music for the Academy Award winning film Zorba the Greek (1964), Z (1969) and Serpico (1973). ROMIOSINI AND BEYOND is a musical event that celebrates his incredible body of work and is coming to the Concert Hall, QPAC in Brisbane on Wednesday 22 May, 2019.
This exclusive one-off concert performance will be held just days after Brisbane’s much-loved Greek celebration, Paniyiri Festival takes over South Brisbane, making the month of May truly a tribute to all things Greek.
Bringing Theodorakis’ music to life in the grandeur of QPAC’s Concert Hall will be Sydney Concertmaster Dimitris Calligeros, international vocal soloist Dimitris Basis and internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor, composer and arranger and Musical Director and Conductor for the Athens Olympics, George Ellis who will lead the four piece Greek band and 40-piece orchestra. The renowned Greek instrument theBouzouki will feature in the second half of the concert.
The first half of this two-part concert event features Theodorakis’ Romiosini, written in 1966. Incredibly moving, it is a Cycle of Songs based on the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos, winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1975, describing hard-fought struggle and summoning pride in Greek culture. This will be the first time that Romiosini will have been played by a full symphony orchestra. The concert’s second half, Beyond, will be a celebration of Theodorakis’ popular music including his world-famous score for Zorba the Greek and other much celebrated work in cinema.
Maestro George Ellis explained, “Romiosini is scored for full symphony orchestra and solo voice. The orchestra for Brisbane will consist of the finest musicians along with Concertmaster Dimitris Calligeros, who trained in Holland and is of Greek-Australian background. The superb vocal soloist for this performance is Dimitris Basis from Athens, of major international standing.”
“Consisting of nine songs, Mikis Theodorakis set the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos to music of power and supplication. Via our special personal relationship with Mikis Theodorakis, it is his request for us to present the masterpiece that is Romiosini. This concert also presents popular songs written by the great maestro, it is a huge pleasure to present these songs with some of Australia’s best orchestral musicians, specially selected for this performance.”
QPAC’s Chief Executive John Kotzas says that Queensland is home to a rich arts culture and QPAC aims to present a diverse and inclusive program of live performance which reflects the stories and cultures of its communities. “We are honoured to pay tribute to legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis in Romiosini and Beyond in what is shaping to be a week where all things remarkable about Greek culture and community are celebrated here in Brisbane. We will be welcoming the cream of Greece’s classical music community, with international vocalist Dimitris Basis and acclaimed conductor, composer and arranger George Ellis among those presenting this spectacular showcase of Mikis Theodorakis’ incredible body of work in QPAC’s Concert Hall,” said Mr Kotzas.
The word romiosini or “Greekness” derives from the Byzantine idea that the Greeks are the true Romioi, the true heirs of the Roman Empire. For hundreds of years under the Turkish occupation the flame of romiosini was kept alive in codes of honor, loyalty, bravery, love of the land, religious devotion and patriotism.
Romiosini and Beyond – A concert celebrating Mikis Theodorakis
Wednesday 22 May 2019 (8.00pm)
Concert Hall, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane