A'Hymn to Acropolis' with Jarre at the Herod Atticus


Prominent French electronic music composer plays Athens Festival

 On a brief visit to Athens this week, Jean-Michel Jarre talked about the concert he is scheduled to give at the Herod Atticus Theater on June 19 and 20.

By Panayiotis Panagopoulos

Jean-Michel Jarre, the internationally renowned French electronic music composer, was in Greece earlier this week to present his concert "Hymn to Acropolis" that is scheduled for the Herod Atticus Theater on June 19 and 20 as part of the Athens Festival. The concert is in aid of the Elpida charity for children with cancer and Jarre is playing free of charge.

"We all feel as if we are the children of the Acropolis, and it is an honor for me to perform there," he said at the presentation.

As in his other great concerts - in Beijing, Paris, Houston, Lyons and the Millennium celebrations in Egypt - Jarre has planned an exclusive extravaganza of music and lights for the ancient Athenian theater, dressing his music with lasers, colored spotlights and other high-technology stage tricks.

"The set design has been done in accordance with the Herod Atticus Theater's architecture. We have adapted it to the theater. The main concept is that the Acropolis remembers everything that has passed through time. The best way to respect a monument is to keep it alive," said the artist.

Jarre expressed his admiration for the Acropolis and all its monuments, stressing his wish to see the Marbles taken from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin returned. "The return of the Marbles to Greece - like the return of all works of art to their homeland - is of international importance," he claimed.
Jarre also commented on the criticism Greece and other Mediterranean countries have received from the international community regarding their ability to host large events such as the 2004 Olympic Games. "I believe that we can all share a global vision and, as a member of the Mediterranean community, I would like to contribute all I can to the idea that we can organize great events in the best possible manner."

Jarre was invited to Greece by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, following a previous invitation from the late Melina Mercouri. The ministry has given Jarre the use of the Herod Atticus Theater free of charge because, the minister said, his show "surpasses the usual magnitude of Athens Festival events."

Proceeds from the concert will go in support of the Elpida foundation, whose president, Marianna Vardinoyianni, said, "With his tribute to the Acropolis, Jean-Michel Jarre pays tribute to Greece just as much as he does to the majesty of humanitarianism."

The tickets for the upper tiers of the Herod Atticus Theater have already been sold out, according to Athens Festival director Periklis Koukos, while those for front-row seats (priced at 50,000, 60,000, 80,000 and 100,000 drachmas) are available from Elpida. There will be a general rehearsal on June 18.

Jarre's show is estimated to cost 410 million drachmas and is expected to bring around 350 million to Elpida, 5 percent of which will go toward the construction of the new Acropolis Museum.

The French composer will be accompanied by the Enarmonia Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Chrysanthos Alisafis, the Athens Municipal Mixed Choir directed by Stavros Beris, the children's choirs of Aghios Efthymios of Keratsini and Mitropoleos of Nikaia, as well as soprano Vasiliki Karayianni.

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