Four generations of Greek voices on stage at Brisbane concert in June

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In a stunning one-night-only concert event in Brisbane, the internationally acclaimed works of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis and Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis will come to life in Axion Esti and Masterworks, in Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) Concert Hall on Wednesday, 5 June 2024.

This uplifting, anthemic celebration will include three local Greek choirs featuring the largest number of Greek voices ever on a QPAC stage. Joined onstage by QPAC’s Chamber Choir, these four (in total) community choirs make up the 90-voice chorus that will accompany this spectacular performance which features renowned international vocalist Dimitris Basis, esteemed Greek Australian conductor George Ellis, cantor George Karantonis, and narration by Greek Australian actor Tony Nikolakopoulos.

A 35-piece orchestra will accompany the soloists and the 90-voice combined choir creating what will be an incredible moment in time for the audience, be they music lovers or Greek Australians. The entire audience is sure to be moved as 91-year-old Apostolos Belas and seven-year-old Milana Sotiris make their Concert Hall debuts as part of their respective Greek community choirs.

Channelling suffering and passion, spiritual lessons, and pure poetic power Axion Esti is a landmark work by Odysseas Elytis which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1960. It was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis and has become a widely celebrated anthem that tugs on the heartstrings of homeland.

Honouring the 100th birthday of Mikis Theodorakis this year, this is the first time the work has been performed at such scale in Australia and is the result of a partnership between QPAC and the Greek Festival of Sydney.

International vocalist Dimitris Basis 91 year old Apostolos Belas, Assistant Choir Master Christina Xydi Lignou and 7 year-old Milana Sotiris
International vocalist Dimitris Basis 91 year old Apostolos Belas, Assistant Choir Master Christina Xydi Lignou and 7 year-old Milana Sotiris.

Mikis Theodorakis is the legendary composer of Zorba’s Dance and is hailed as Greece’s most celebrated composer. With over 1,000 songs and song-cycles to his name, his melodies are intrinsically linked with the heritage of Greek music. This unique concert celebrates the sheer musical beauty and timelessness of his masterwork compositions. Some of his most famous works, including Ena To Helidoni (A Solitary Swallow) and Tis Dikeosinis Ilie (Sun of Justice), will be performed.

It is the first time the QPAC Chamber Choir, the Ellinikes Fones Choir and the Ellinikes Fones Junior Choir will perform together, rehearsals having been underway for months. In a wonderful finale moment, the Greek Orthodox Community (GOC) Care Choir Fones, with some members in their 90s, will join on stage.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas AM said QPAC aims to present a diverse and inclusive program that reflects the stories and cultures of Queensland communities.

“Connecting with our multicultural communities is a key priority for us and we’re proud to partner with Greek Festival of Sydney to present this celebration of the work of two brilliant artists in Mikis Theodorakis and Odysseas Elytis,” he said.

“Three local choirs will join with renowned national and international Greek performers under the baton of the much-loved George Ellis for a rousing concert of Greek music and poetry. Concerts like these that celebrate culture allow communities to see their heritage reflected on stage, reconnect those within the community to their roots, and also provide opportunity for broader audiences to widen their understanding and appreciation for different cultures.”

Tom Drakopoulos from the Ellinikes Fones Choir of the Greek Orthodox Community of St. George Brisbane said, “Axion Esti is one of the finest pieces of work from the greatest composer Greece has ever produced. It’s the masterpiece of both composer Mikis Theodorakis and Nobel Laurette poet Odysseas Elytis and to have it performed here in Brisbane at QPAC with our own community choirs on stage is truly incredible.”

“This concert event has given the opportunity for two of the Greek Community’s choirs formed a little over 18 months ago in Ellinikes Fones and GOC Care Choir Fones, as well as the recently created Junior Ellinikes Fones, to participate in this unique and once in a lifetime event,” Mr Drakopoulos said.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW at qpac.com.au or phone 136 246.

Season Details

  • QPAC Presents: Axion Esti and Masterworks
  • Vocalist Dimitris Basis
  • Conductor George Ellis
  • Cantor George Karantonis
  • Narration by Tony Nikolakopoulos
  • Director Greek Band George Doukas
  • Choir Master Timothy Sherlock 
  • Assistant Choir Master Christina Xydi-Lignou 
  • Choirs QPAC Chamber Choir, Ellinikes Fones Choir, Ellinikes Fones Junior Choir, GOC Care Choir Fones

WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 7.00pm WHERE:  Concert Hall, QPAC, Queensland Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane TICKETS: qpac.com.au BOOKINGS: qpac.com.au or phone 136 246 

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