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Romiosini & Beyond @ QPAC

22 May

greek dance

CELEBRATING MIKIS THEODORAKIS, the greatest orchestral and choral composer in Greek history

Featuring international vocalist Dimitris Basis, conducted by George Ellis

Held at Concert Hall, QPAC

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 comes days after the city’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 the Bouzouki 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.


WHEN: Wednesday 22 May 2019 (8.00 pm)

WHERE: Concert Hall, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane

TICKETS: qpac.com.au for current pricing

BOOKINGS: qpac.com.au or 136 246
Event info: https://www.qpac.com.au/event/romiosini_beyond_19/

About Mikis Theodorakis

To say that Mikis Theodorakis’ life has been tumultuous is an understatement. He is much more than Greece’s greatest and most celebrated orchestral and choral composer. He has become a symbol of modern Greece and the most beloved Greek public figure. His life mirrors the history of Greece in the 20th century and his life-long struggle for freedom, quality and justice epitomises the struggle of the Greek people. Born on 29 July 1925, he has written over 1000 songs.

He scored for the Academy Award winning film Zorba the Greek and was nominated for the Hollywood Press Association Award for Best Original Score. The main theme for Zorba the Greek now exists as a trademark for Greece. He also wrote for the film Z and Serpico.

He fought during WWII and was captured in Tripoli. He was tortured and when he was set free, he joined the army of Greece, and took part in the civil war during 1945-49. Arrested, he was exiled on the island of Ikaria in 1947, was then transferred to the island of Makronisos in 1948 where he was tortured again and barely survived. When he was released, he moved to Paris to continue with his studies in music. He composed continuously.

He has put to music the work of leading poets, such as Odysseus Elytis, Pablo Neruda, Brendan Behan, Federico Garcia Lorca, George Seferis and Yiannis Ritsos. He has composed the national anthem of Palestine. He has become a symbol of resistance proving that music has no borders. Throughout his life he has remained true to his principles, has never compromised and has fought during Greece’s darkest and most difficult times, always hoping for a brighter future. No wonder he is such a loved and respected figure in Greek public life.

About Dimitris Basis

In May 2005, he took part in the celebrations in honour of the eightieth birthday of Mikis Theodorakis. Dimitris Basis is a Greek singer and musician from the village of Cherso near the city of Kilkis. Born in Stuttgart, his parents lived in Germany for many years, he came to Greece for the first time at aged eight when his entire family returned to Herso. At age nine, he started chanting the liturgy in the local church and three years later he began to study Byzantine music. Gaining his diploma at the age of seventeen he used to sing at many cultural celebrations. At twenty years old, just after his first steps in professional singing, he was discovered by Stamatis Kraounakis and Warner Music Company who offered him a contract. When he released his first album it was a tremendous success with over 120,000 sales. Dimitris voice started to be heard not only in Greece but abroad as well. He has performed all over the world and previously in Australia at a series of concerts with Irini Haridou.

About George Ellis

George Ellis is an internationally-acclaimed orchestral conductor, composer and arranger in Sydney. He conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and millennium Choir at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and was Musical Director and Conductor for the Athens Olympics. He has presented concerts internationally, conducting in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Athens and many more.


22 May
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