Zorba the Greek: The ballet

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Intro: when I started writing this post, five years ago, there was a video available on YouTube, with the full length of the ballet in Verona, Italy. The video disappeared and is not available anymore, nowhere, only on a DVD. I have removed the empty link. Two tracks popped up again, and I added them here. Update: 1 June, 2017.

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Update 8 June 2017: the performance of 2013, in Ankara, with Irek Mukhamedov (photo).

 

The book

The ballet is based on the book, Alexis Zorbas. Alexis Zorbas, Zorba, is a world famous Greek, who has lived in reality!

“Alexis Zorbas, Zorbas the Greek, whose real name was Georgis, was born in Kolindros in 1867 approximately. He was the son of Photis Zorbas, a rich chief shepherd and landowner, and he had one sister (Katerina) and two brothers (Giannis and Ksenophon). The assertion that Alexis Zorbas, the character in Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel, was born in Kolindros, derives from the facts that the lirerateur G. Anapliotis presents in his play “The real Zorbas and Nikos Kazantzakis” and also from the narration of Zorbas’ daughter, Androniki Kehaef and of others, related to him during his stormy and mysterious life.” (from: Zorbas and Kolindros)

He will live forever, because of  the book “Zorba the Greek”: Βίος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά”, “Life and Adventures of Alexis Zorbas”, written in 1946 by the Cretan/Greek writer and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis. He was born in Heraklion, on February 18, 1883. He passed away on October 26, 1957.

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The film

Zorba became even more alive in 1964 with the film “Alexis Zorbas”, better known as “Zorba the Greek” (director Michael Cacoyannis), and when people think about “Zorba” they will have Anthony Quinn in their mind.

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Premiere of the ballet in the Arena di Verona, Italy, in 1990                                                  In 1988 Mikis Theodorakis composed the music for the ballet Zorba the Greek. The premiere was in Italy, in the Arena di Verona, in 1990. In 1991 the first video, VHS, was released by 2 Entertain video.

George Theodorakis has uploaded a one hour and fifty minutes long video on June 28, 2017, which is an own production out of private, self created authentic film material, from this Arena di Verona performance, mixed with parts of the rehearsals. Altogether a real life document, with historical value. It must have been an incredible task to put all the steps of two different takes on the rhythm of another soundtrack.

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Dancers:  Vladimir Vassiliev (Zorba), Gheorghe Iancu (John), Luciana  Savignano (Marina), Rosanna Garavelli (Madame Hortense), Diego Ciavatti (Yorgos)                     Choreography and Stage Designer: Lorca Massine

Musicians:

  • Sophia Michailidou: mezzo-sopraan
  • Kostas Papadoupolos, Lakis Karnezis: bouzouki
  • Choir and orchestra from the Arena di Verona
  • Composer, Conductor and Stage Director: Mikis Theodorakis

  • Costume Designer: Ferruccio Villagrossi
  • Director: Luigi Bonori

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Alexis Zorbas: Ballet Suite (Arena di Verona 1989)
Scene 14: Asteraki     

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Alexis Zorbas: Ballet Suite (Arena di Verona 1989)
Scene 17: Hassapiko dance (Strose To Stroma Sou)

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Zorbas the ballet, by Turkish Ankara and Samsun State Opera and Ballet (2013)

  • Librettist and choreographer: Lorca Massine
  • Music: Mikis Theodorakis
  • Zorba – Irek Mukhamedov
  • John – Eren Keleş

 

 

 

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Links to sources                                                                                                                    

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Post updated: October 29, 2015

Post updated: June 1, 2017

Post updated: June 8, 2017

Post updated: July 6, 2017

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About "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis"

The blog "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis" started in 2010. The not-for-profit activities of the initiator were and are to collect, create and publish information about the MUSIC of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis via YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and this blog. Sources for this information are utterly strictly related with Mikis Theodorakis' Music only. The icon is a bouzouki. It is Greece's national symbol for freedom. During the Regime of the Colonels (Military Junta, 1967-1974) the bouzouki was forbidden. Mikis Theodorakis used this authentic Greek instrument in almost all his compositions, and Greeks were listening to Theodorakis's music in the underground scene, during the Military Junta time.
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