Axion Esti: A night in Melbourne that resonated with the Greek soul

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The Melbourne Recital Centre was filled to capacity on Saturday, June 1 as the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) presented the highly anticipated concert, “Axion Esti: Worthy It Is,” celebrating the enduring legacy of composer Mikis Theodorakis and Nobel Laureate poet Odysseas Elytis.

The evening commenced with Theodorakis’ iconic song “I Genesis,” a moment that set the tone for the entire night. As acclaimed vocalist Dimitris Basis began, the audience joined in, singing along and creating a collective voice that resonated through the hall, evoking a sense of unity and shared heritage.

Throughout the concert, Conductor George Ellis masterfully led the “Exaudi” 90-piece choir, while Chanter George Karantonis and narrator Tony Nikolakopoulos brought Elytis’ poignant poetry to life. The blend of music and spoken word encapsulated the essence of Greek culture and history, leaving a lasting impression on everyone present.

dimitris basis axion esti
Dimitris Basis. All photos: Astrini Kopeloudi-Wallace.
dimitris basis axion esti
Tony Nikolakopoulos.

Greek Community Cultural Committee Chair Leonidas Vlahakis, reflected on the evening, saying, “Axion Esti transcends the realm of a mere concert; it is a celebration of our identity. This evening, we experienced firsthand the extraordinary power of Theodorakis’ iconic compositions, which perfectly complemented Elytis’ poignant poetry, creating an emotional resonance that deeply touched our souls. It served as a reminder of our rich cultural heritage and the enduring legacy of two giants of Greek culture. The performances tonight not only entertained but also reinforced our collective identity and the profound connection between music, poetry, and the Greek spirit.”

dimitris basis axion esti
dimitris basis axion esti

Vice President of the GCM, Anthea J. Sidiropoulos added, “The concert was an emotional journey that deeply touched the hearts of all attendees. The overwhelming response from the community highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating our cultural legacy. Events like this connect us to our roots and inspire future generations to embrace their heritage.”

Dr Jim Bossinakis, Vice President of the GCM, also shared his thoughts, stating, “Seeing a full house and experiencing the standing ovation was a testament to the timeless relevance of Theodorakis’ and Elytis’ work. This concert was a tribute to their genius and a reaffirmation of our commitment to cultural excellence. Axion Esti marked a significant milestone in the cultural calendar of Melbourne’s Greek community. The night will be remembered not only for its musical brilliance but also for its ability to touch the Greek soul.”

The night concluded on a high note with the vibrant performance of “Ena to Helidoni.” The audience’s applause echoed throughout the venue, culminating in a standing ovation that underscored the deep appreciation and emotional impact of the performance.

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