What does Summer mean to you?
Is it an idea? Like temporary freedom from the tyranny of routine? A sound? Like chirping cicadas, the buzz of a lawn mower or the restless thwack of beach paddle tennis to the tunes of Lana del Ray. Or perhaps, like us, Summer equates to more of a feeling? A buoyancy of unbridled spirits and unchartered horizons.
No matter what your own personal definition of Summer is, the place to be this June 18-25, will undoubtably be the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, as they wheel out their brilliant Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival).
SNFestival is the gift of a week of incredible free events, signifying a collective “return” or homecoming (“nostos”) to all those themes and things that the arrival of summer means for each one of us. Funded entirely by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, think of it as their Summer bonus to the people of Greece!
You can spend the whole week just dipping in and out of the wonderfully diverse and eclectic programme. Here’s just a small sampling of some of the events that caught our eye:
British acting icon Charlotte Rampling in a musical poetry performance; the rough and tumble of New Yorker Elizabeth Streb’s daredevil dances in the SNFCC Labyrinth; internationally-acclaimed magician Mark Mitton weaving his enchantments; electrifying Capoeira Brazilian martial arts displays; Greek National Opera ballet recitals to the minimal masterpieces of Philip Glass; and Russian chess supremo Garry Kasparovtaking taking on young Greek challengers.
The SNFestival 2017 invites us all to travel back to our favorite summers, guided by music, dance and melodies, stories and laughter, exercise and play. More than 400 Greek and international artists and contributors will collaborate creatively, offering more than 75 events, held on 5 stages and many other spaces around the SNFCC.
Says the SNFCC:
“Impressive outdoor concerts at the Great Lawn of the Stavros Niarchos Park and on the Canal’s sea water, summer parties, atmospheric performances in the halls of the Greek National Opera, works of art that will provide food for thought and reflection, alongside magic shows that capture the imagination, lectures and discussions that nourish the mind, combined with sports activities for the whole family make up a program that contains all the vital elements of summer: carelessness, but also time for reflection, rest, but also action, opening up to new sights and sounds, returning to all those things that make us feel like home.”
Here’s a taste of what to expect:
Some of the main Festival Events:
*Live performances by Leonidas Kavakos, Yo La Tengo, Charlotte Rampling, The Cinematic Orchestra, Melanie De Biasio, Lena Platonos, Nikos Portokaloglou, Monika, Saul Williams, MELISSES, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Eleanor Friedberger, DJ Alex Cruz, Susan Deyhim.
*A comprehensive discussion between the SNFCC’s visionary architect, Renzo Piano, and the New York Times architectural critic, Michael Kimmelman, combined with the architectural exhibition Piece by Piece – Renzo Piano Building Workshop which showcases models, sketches, photographs and videos of the firm’s projects during the past 30 years, and which, prior to arriving to Athens, had traveled to New York, Padua and Shanghai.
*The established race SNF RUN: Running into the Future, which returns this year with two different routes, of 10k and 6k, in addition to the 1k race for Special Olympics athletes.
*With regards to visual arts, the Only Connect program, designed by curator, art critic and academic, Robert Storr, along with a team of acclaimed curators, offers a selection of thematic videos and performances by Kim Jones, Tania Bruguera, Mieskuoro Huutajat, Paris Legakis, that address the concept of “connection”, at a time when communication between people is being tested.
*The Night Dances, a music and poetry performance featuring the critically acclaimed British actress, Charlotte Rampling. A poignant recitation of Sylvia Plath’s poetry, accompanied by Benjamin Britten’s solo suites for cello, Nos 2 & 3, performed by French-American cellist, Sonia Wieder-Atherton.
*The Τheater of War’s play Antigone in Ferguson, which deals with cases of police brutality and racism, based on an original idea by the director and creator of the Theater of War, Bryan Doerries. The performance utilizes the healing power of Ancient Greek Tragedy, to provide relief to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
*As part of the Festival’s dance program, the American choreographer and performer, Elizabeth Streb, comes to Greece for the first time along with the Streb Extreme Action group, for five gravity-defying performances at the SNFCC Labyrinth.
* Heidi Latsky and choreographer Apostolia Papadamaki present the collaborative performance On Display – Athens, a deconstructed choreography/commentary on the human body as a spectacle, with an ensemble of 10 Greek and American dancers, including professional dancers with kinetic disabilities.
* The Greek National Opera participates with two performances of Giorgos Koumendakis’ play The day will come… directed by Ektoras Lygizos, while Antonis Foniadakis choreographs a two-part performance by members of the GNO ballet and independent dancers, under the evocative and cathartic sounds of Philip Glass’s music. Likewise, the National Library of Greece, participates with the interactive exhibition Reading Points, as part of their Summer Campaign activities, along with a series of open talks with a variety of themes.
* The simultaneous chess encounter of legendary Garry Kasparov, with young champions from Greece.
*The creative and entertaining magic performances, that meet up in the Labyrinth and the Alternative Stage, featuring the amazing tricks of internationally-acclaimed magician, Mark Mitton.
All Summer Nostos Festival events are free and there are no participation fees. To view the schedule in full click HERE
Insider Weekly, May 24, 2017.