The mixed choir CONCORDIA of the Venizelio Conservatory of Chania presents the musical performance ‘Pornography’ of M. Hadjidakis, directed by Despina Drakakis and Maria Lekakis, a tribute to the homonymous work of the great composer.
WHEN: 18th and 19th February, 21.00
WHERE: Conservatory Eleftherios Venizelos, Nikiforou Foka 5, Chania
Tickets on sale €10 at the Venizelio Conservatory from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Transcription for choir and piano by Tasos Karakatsanis.
Scenes Lamprini Boviatsou.
Scenes Lamprini Boviatsou.
Costume design by Giorgia Markantonaki.
Piano: Drakaki Despina
In 1982 his last musical was staged, a surreal affair called Pornography (Πορνογραφία), which was much more poetic than its title suggests. The song “The Ballad Of The Senses and Of Illusions” (Η Μπαλάντα Των Αισθήσεων Και Των Παραισθήσεων) describes a young man visiting a porn cinema in order to cruise for sex. The lyrics, however, rather describe a transcedental, almost religious experience: “Now I’m naked, I look like a God, luminous and powerful. I want you to love me, I want you to gift me with this moment, my body is just my excuse.”
The idea for Pornographia with an accompanying soundtrack release, the composer recalled, came during one Easter week in Makrynitsa, near Pelion, as a ‘vague and foggy idea like the damp landscape in Pelion.’
A daring project for its time, and starring regular collaborators Minos Argyrakis and Sappho Notara, the stage performances of Pornographia ended quickly after failing to draw crowds.
About Manos Hadjidakis
Manos Hadjidakis is considered by some as modern Greece’s greatest composer and songwriter. With Mikis Theodorakis, Hadjidakis helped elevate Greek folk and popular song into respected art and he became popular at home and abroad with his movie soundtrack work, winning an Oscar in 1960.
He also composed contemporary classical pieces for ensembles, often inspired by Greek poetry. He also wrote for theatre and ballet. Much of his work are considered classics in Greece, being the cornerstone of the country’s modern popular music.
started writing music for plays in the late 40s and by the mid 50s he was a household name. He was the first Greek composer to win the Best Song Oscar for “Never On Sunday”.
In 1961 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “The Children of Piraeus” but did not attend the California ceremony and his statuette was later mailed to Greece. This award gave him worldwide publicity, which Hatzidakis initially tried to manage but eventually decided to avoid, believing that it deprived him of the opportunity to shape his own relationship with his audience. “For me, the Oscar is not the crowning of a career but my true beginning,” was one of his first statements. “Maybe a simple song brought me the Oscar. But my ambitions and my obligations don”t stop there…” he said.
In 1966 Manos Hadjidakis visited New York in order to take part, with Jules Dassin and Melina Mercouri, in the Broadway production of “Illya Darling”, a musical adaptation of “Never on Sunday”.
In July 1972 he returned to Athens. The period that followed, until the end of his life, is considered the most mature in his musical career and its beginning is marked by the recording of the iconic song cycle “The Great Erotic” in the autumn of 1972.
The period 1975-1982 coincides with what Hatzidakis mockingly called the “clerical period” of his life. The government of Constantine Karamanlis appointed him director of the Athens State Orchestra, director of the state radio station Third Programme and deputy general director of the National Opera. His brilliant tenure at the Third Programme (1975-1982) remains a benchmark in Greek radio broadcasting to this day for the high quality and variety of the programmes and cultural events organised in Athens and other cities.
From 1978 to 1981 Manos Hadjidakis established the summer “Music Festivals” in Anogia, a collaboration with the Municipality of Anogia and the Music Academy of Crete. The Music Festivals included lyre, song and dance competitions, film screenings and concerts. In August 1979, the conference ”Meeting and dialogue on the importance of a folk tradition in our time” was held in Anogia, with the participation of intellectuals, artists, academics and journalists.
During the period of Occupation Manos Hadjidakis was a member of the EPON of Pagrati. He wrote articles and poems for children in the EPON magazine Nea Generia during the first years of its publication, from 1943 onwards under the pseudonym Petros Granitis. After the Decembrance, on the orders of the KKE, the troupe “United Artists” was founded, with two groups, one consisting of professionals and one of first-time artists. Hatzidakis participated in the second stage, with the great director, translator and writer George Sevastikoglou as coordinator.
In 1946 he distanced himself from the party perception and action and since then he developed a personal political thought, the central axes of which were the questioning, the revision and the constant search for the modern Greek identity in the modern world.
About his political convictions he writes: “I am a bourgeois democrat, humanist and right-wing revisionist […]. I have never been an anti-communist […]. I have never never been a leftist. But the leftist does not contain me.”
The political thought of Manos Hadjidakis extends to the essence of social issues, beyond and outside the space defined by ideologies and is omnipresent in his work – which, however, can in no way be described as militant.
Sources: www.trenfo.com (biographies), www.hadjidakis.gr
Photo credit: diktyofm.gr