As Greece and the world mourn the death of Mikis Theodorakis, Greece’s greatest composer, many have reflected on the music icon’s last concert held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in 2017.
In a tribute to the legendary composer, a stunning one-thousand-member choir — the largest choir ever assembled in Greece — and a full orchestra directed by Panagis Barbatis played some of Theodorakis’ most well known and beloved songs.
Over 50,000 adoring spectators filled the stadium to hear Theodorakis’ compositions performed in concert in the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games.
Theodorakis, crowd moved during last concert
Despite his advanced age and ill health, Theodorakis even took the stage and conducted some of his works, including the beloved song “Vrexei Stin Ftoxogeintonia.”
When Theodorakis took the stage, the crowd burst into riotous applause, expressing their love and adoration for the man who had changed Greek music forever.
The legendary Greek composer was visibly moved, as he conducted his work with tears filling his eyes.
In the crowd of thousands of fans were Greek musicians, actors, academics, and even the President at the time, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Theodorakis was beloved by nearly all Greeks, regardless of age, class, or political affiliation.
Greece under three days of national mourning after death of legendary composer
Mikis Theodorakis, the greatest Greek composer in history, whose music has touched generations, died on Thursday at age 96 in his home in Athens.
His death at his home in central Athens followed multiple hospitalizations in recent years, mostly for heart treatment.
Greece declared a three-day national mourning period after his death.
“Mikis Theodorakis is now passing into eternity. His voice was silenced and with him the whole of Hellenism was silenced,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
“He leaves us a legacy of his songs, his political action, but also his national contribution at critical moments. All Greeks are crying today,” Mitsotakis added.
“And for this reason, and with a decision of the government, a three-day national mourning period is declared from today.”
“Today we lost a part of the soul of Greece,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni in a condolence message posted on Twitter.
“Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis of all of us, the teacher, the intellectual, the radical has left,” the statement went on.
Theodorakis’ works encapsulated world of Greek music
The composer penned what is probably the best-known piece of Greek music, the film score to “Zorba the Greek,” an instrumental which is still played and danced to around the world to this day.
Mikis Theodorakis produced a staggering number of musical works, encompassing both symphonic music and most predominantly Greek folk music, from which he drew most of his inspiration, making it famous the world over.
His ability to compose music which conveyed emotion and struggle is perhaps best displayed in his composition “The Ballad of Mauthausen.” This music has been described as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written about the Holocaust.
The legacy which the incomparable Theodorakis leaves behind is not only that of the greatest Greek composer of all time, but also that of a visionary humanitarian. Starting out as a socialist, in his later years he tried to unite all the Greek people, regardless of their political affiliation.
Watch the full concert below: