Tribute to Iakovos Kambanellis

Paris 20.04.22

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2022 Literary Year of Iakovos Kambanellis

The Ministry of Culture and Sports is honoring the writer Iakovos Kambanellis for his contribution to the Hellenic nation as an artist and a man.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports is honoring the work and civic contribution of Iakovos Kambanellis with a series of events in Greece and abroad. The Ministry, within the framework of the 2022 Literary Year of Iakovos Kambanellis, will spotlight the multidimensional work and contribution of the internationally renowned writer to Greek arts and letters. A playwright, screenwriter, poet, lyricist, prose writer, actor, Kambanellis, born on 2 December 1921 on Naxos, was an intellectual who left an indelible imprint on modern Greek culture with his multifaceted work and social engagement until his death in 2011.

As Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, has stated, “In the work of Iakovos Kambanellis, more recent modern Greek history is recorded with realism and intense emotion. It is the history of post-war Greece, with its political and social tensions, as it attempted to recover from the traumas of World War II and the Greek Civil War. Kambanellis created fully drawn characters who are recognizable, authentic. Beyond his skillful writing, the immediacy of his language is one of the basic reasons that the Greeks identified with his work, loved it, and recognized themselves in his texts.

Independent of his literary achievements, Iakovos Kambanellis was especially beloved for the deep humanity that distinguished him, for his generosity, struggle for democratic ideals, and resistance to fascist ideology in whatever form it might take. Showcasing his unsurpassed body of work, the respect and love he expressed for Greece and the Greeks, his moral character, social stance and presence is the least we can do to acknowledge our debt and pay tribute to him.”

Independent of his literary achievements, Iakovos Kambanellis was especially beloved for the deep humanity that distinguished him, for his generosity, struggle for democratic ideals, and resistance to fascist ideology in whatever form it might take. Showcasing his unsurpassed body of work, the respect and love he expressed for Greece and the Greeks, his moral character, social stance and presence is the least we can do to acknowledge our debt and pay tribute to him.”

Kambanellis was a writer and spiritual man who, though self-taught in his area of expertise, mastered all types of prose and verse, with iconic literary works and essays, unsurpassed theatrical texts, timeless screenplays, and, of course, iconic songs with music by Mikis Theodorakis. Our objective is for his rich body of work to become even more broadly known among younger generations through a series of activities and events both in Greece and abroad, and to inspire younger artists through a productive dialogue with his body of work.”

With 40 theatrical works, Iakovos Kambanellis is one of the most prolific Greek playwrights of the 20th century. His The Courtyard of Miracles is considered the work which launched contemporary modern Greek drama. His autobiographical novel, Mauthausen, represents his contribution to the global literature on the concentration camps. Our Grand Circus remains indelibly inscribed on our individual and collective memories, as a literary turning point in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

Within the framework of the commemoration, the Ministry of Culture and Sports is organizing a series of activities in Greece and abroad for the showcasing of the work of the honored artist in the following areas:
1. Events in Greece and abroad;
2. International Translation - Publication Program;
3. Provision of support for institutions and other entities organizing events.

For coordination, support, event planning and design, as well as evaluation of proposals and applications from the various entities for their activities within the framework of the celebration of the 2022 Literary Year of Iakovos Kambanellis, a five-member, unpaid professional Working Group consisting of the following individuals was established:
Dr. Eleni Doundoulaki,, Theatrologist. Secretary General for Contemporary Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Sports;
Dr. Sissy Papathanasiou, Cultural Historian. Head of the Letters Directorate of the Ministry of Culture and Sports;
Katerina Kambanelli, Costume and Set Designer. Heir and administrator of the Kambanellis Archive;
Platon Mavromoustakos, Professor. Theatre Studies Department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens;
Panagiotis Mentis, Writer/Screenwriter. President of the Greek Playwrights Association

MAJOR EVENTS OF THE 2022 LITERARY YEAR OF IAKOVOS KAMBANELLIS:

FEBRUARY 2022
Publication and presentation of the bilingual volume Iakovos Kambanellis. The anniversary volume will become part of the Ministry of Culture and Sports set of commemorative books.

MARCH - JUNE 2022
Exhibit dedicated to the writer, his body of work, and the historical context at The Gkika Gallery of the Benaki Museum, accompanied by related educational activities created in collaboration with theatrical entities and university departments of theatre studies and music studies.

JUNE 2022
Tribute to Iakovos Kambanellis’ contribution to cinema in collaboration with the the Greek Film Archive (Tainiothiki tis Ellados). Screening of films with screenplays by the writer. Greek Film Archive - Lais Hall.

SUMMER 2022
Organization of a series of events in collaboration with the Municipality of Naxos, the birthplace of Iakovos Kambanellis and location of the eponymous Museum. The program will include presentation of the bilingual volume Iakovos Kambanellis, concerts, readings, workshops, and amateur theatre performances on Naxos.​

INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION - PUBLICATION PROGRAM
The Ministry of Culture and Sports is collaborating with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture on the presentation of the writer’s work internationally. Within this framework, partnerships are planned with selected publishing houses specializing in translation and the publication of theatrical texts, as well as academic centers for Greek studies at foreign universities. The translation and publishing activities will be supported through book exhibits and events specially organized by international entities, university foundations, and artistic entities, as well as through professional meetings. Special mention needs to be made of events in Paris and London, whose objective is to draw the attention of the international professional and artistic communities, as well as those involved in publishing, to the artist and his work. These events also aim to strengthen the presence of Greek literary and dramatic writing as well as the number of Greek books in Greek and in translation available internationally.

Paris
Event in collaboration with the Centre Culturel Hellenique (Centre for Hellenic Culture); the Department of Greek (UFR de Grec) at the Sorbonne; the Chair in History and Literature at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), and other entities.

London
Events in collaboration with the Koraes Chair in Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature of the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London, with The Hellenic Centre and other entities.

After special consideration and evaluation of relevant requests, the Ministry of Culture and Sports will extend its support to events planned by various cultural and local/regional governmental entities in honor of Iakovos Kambanellis.

EN Translation © Diana Savas

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Kambanellisland

Naxos - Maouthausen - Athens

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The Courtyard of Miracles – The Musical

The cultural organization, Lykofos, in collaboration with the Megaron Athens Concert Hall as co-producer, is preparing a momentous theatrical venture,opening on 11 February 2022 at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall.

The “Karolos Koun” award-winning director, Christos Sougharis, and the internationally renowned soloist and composer, Stefanos Korkolis, have signed on to a special adaptation of the most iconic work of modern Greek theatre, Iakovos Kambanellis’ The Courtyard of Miracles as a musical.Participating along with them will be a remarkable group of well-known actors and theatrical collaborators.

Gerasimos Evangelatos, lyrics; Marissa Triantafyllidou, dramaturgy; and Fokas Evangelinos, choreography. Signing on to set and costume design is Eleni Manolopoulou and lighting, Alekos Anastasiou. In the role of Annetos will be Roula Pateraki, and as Iordanis, Manos Vakousis.
Cast:
Giorgos Gallos (Stelios)
Vasilis Bisbikis (Babis)
Katerina Papoutsaki (Olga)
Kora Karvouni (Voula)
Maria Diakopanagiotou (Dora)
Mariza Tsari (Maria)
Giorgos Tsiandoulas (Stratos)
Alexandros Varthis (Yiannis)
Kris Radanov (Man)
Sotiria Rouvoli (Woman)

Some comments from the director
The Courtyard of Miracles is focused on the lack of stability and security which characterizes the life of the Greeks. This instability begins with our erratic climate, our “strategic” geographic location, the poverty of our land, and it ends with our individual economic circumstances. Everything in Greece rises and falls very easily, it is swept along, it disappears, and our usual desire is to find stability somewhere, to feel a sense of security.

A few words about the creative team
Christos Sougharis and Stefanos Korkolis began their collaboration with the Beckett-esque production of another Kambanellis play, The Road Passes Within, at the Horn Theatre, a production which introduced a new perspective on the stage interpretation of modern Greek texts. This was followed by Euripides’ Bacchae at the Herod Atticus Theatre in the summer of 2020, an interpretation of the tragedy whose alternative narrative was received enthusiastically, garnering praise from the public and critics alike. Sougharis and Korkolis have now continued their collaboration with the challenging objective of transforming Kambanellis’ classic masterpiece into a musical.

The premiere is scheduled for 11 February 2022 in the Alexandra Trianti Hall of the Megaron Athens Concert Hall. The Courtyard of Miracles - The Musical will run through 25 February 2022.

EN Translation © Diana Savas

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Mikis Theodorakis-Iakovos Kambanellis: MAUTHAUSEN – The cantata in a new interpretation with male voice and cello

“I closed my eyes, I leaned back and began to reflect...it was August, it was 1945, a new season was beginning...” (ending of the autobiographical novel, Mauthausen, Kedros Publishers).

The iconic cantata Mauthausen, with music by Mikis Theodorakis and lyrics by Iakovos Kambanellis, first performed by Maria Farandouri, is being newly interpreted by Aristarchos Papadaniil, with the permission of the composer Mikis Theodorakis and the blessing of Katerina Kambanelli, daughter of the late writer. The four songs of the cantata, “Song of Songs,” “Antonis,” “The Fugitive,” “When the War is Over,” are being performed by Aristarchos, accompanied by Aris Zervas on the cello within the framework of a creative musical dialogue.

An innovation in the new recordings is the inclusion in each song’s introduction of the performance of an excerpt from the autobiographical novel, Mauthausen, by Iakovos Kambanellis (Kedros Publishers) directly related to the story in the song. The excerpts are used with the kind permission of Katerina Kambanelli and Kedros Publishers.

Referring to his experience with the new recording, Aristarchos says, “Performing Mauthausen, I became Marian Bogusz’s poetic ranting; the sobs of the girls in Auschwitz, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Belsen; the cry of the Jew; the German’s order; Antonis’ bravery; Janos Beer’s emotional devastation; Kambanellis’ lyrical witness. Mauthausen, free once again, surrenders to you.” He adds, “From the bottom of my heart, I thank the great composer Mikis Theodorakis, for the incredible honor of his permission for this new interpretation of his musical masterpiece Mauthausen. I extend my warmest thanks to Iakovos Kambanellis’ daughter, Katerina, for her trust and support.”

The four songs of the new interpretation of the monumental work Mauthausen were released digitally by Syllipsis on Mikis Theodorakis’ birthday, 29 July 2021, and will be included in a special print edition scheduled for release on 2 December 2021, on the occasion of 100 years since the birth of the great writer Iakovos Kambanellis (1921-2011).

Song of Songs / Asma Asmaton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8IXoeUYZSc
Antonis / Ο Αντώνης https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2upiEgi28JQ
The Fugitive / O Drapetis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOoQR8kK-d0
When the War is Over / Ama Teleiosei o Polemos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CygHvf-jJ9k&t=4s

A poetry film - a lyrical dreamscape - has been made for the new musical interpretation of “When the War is Over,” co-directed by cinematographer Panagiotis Kountouras and Aristarchos Papadaniil. It follows their collaboration on the award-winning The City (Wherever I Gaze) (Zebra Poetry Film Festival, etc.), a poetry film featuring C. P. Cavafy’s “The City.”

MAUTHAUSEN: ΑΜΑ ΤΕΛΕΙΩΣΕΙ Ο ΠΟΛΕΜΟΣ (Official Music Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0EJo0ZA6WM&t=2s

Dedicated to the memory of IAKOVOS KAMBANELLIS (1921-2011)
2021: 100 YEARS - IAKOVOS KAMBANELLIS

EN Translation © Diana Savas

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2022: The Year of Iakovos Kambanellis

2022: The Year of Iakovos Kambanellis

The Ministry of Culture and Sports is pleased and honored to proclaim 2022 ‘The Year of Iakovos Kambanellis’ on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth. On his birthday, 2 December 2021, the inaugural event of the year dedicated to his memory will take place. All events during the commemoration year will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The process involved in the proclamation of ‘The Year of Iakovos Kambanellis’ began in March 2020, with the letter of nomination from Mrs. Anna Psarouda-Benaki, as President of the Academy of Athens, to Mrs. Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, stating that “the plenary membership of the Academy of Athens expresses its fervent support for the proclamation designating December 2021-December 2022 as ‘The Year of Iakovos Kambanellis,’ who held the Chair of Dramatic Arts at the Academy for 12 consecutive years.” It should be noted that the same request was submitted by the Municipality of Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades, the birthplace of the “patriarch” of contemporary modern Greek theatre.

“The proclamation of 2022 as ‘The Year of Kambanellis,’ stated the Minister of Culture and Sports, “constitutes but a small acknowledgment of the enormous intellectual contribution of the great Greek writer. In his unsurpassed body of work, Iakovos Kambanellis captured Greek history and the social reality of the post-war period in a unique manner. More than any other artist, he managed to create, with a blend of realism and lyricism, a portrait of the difficulties and struggles, as well as the strength and hopes, of the Greek people. Beyond, however, the timeless value of his work, Iakovos Kambanellis was a great and worthy Greek. He was an intellectual, a concerned, active citizen, and a courageous fighter, a symbol of resistance to every form of fascism. Kambanellis was unique. For those of us who had the honor and pleasure of knowing him, we learned a great deal from our interaction with this great man. Brilliant, kind, magnanimous, sensitive, poetic, an islander.”

EN Translation © Diana Savas

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Mauthausen

Albin Michel

Prix du Livre Etranger 2020 France Inter – Le Journal du Dimanche (Albin Michel, 2020 – traduction: Solange Festal-Livanis).

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