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Blindfolded Performance by American Teenage Musicians in Ancient Olympia

ancient Olympia
American teenage musicians performing blindfolded in ancient Olympia Credit: Olympia Festival Of The Arts

The Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Orchestra (CSYSA) stunned the audience of the opening show of the Ancient Olympia Festival of the Arts in the Peloponnese in Southern Greece.

The teenage musicians, who enjoyed a few days’ tour of Greece before performing at the amphitheatre, were praised for their masterful performance of famous works by the great classical music composers Rossini, Mendelssohn, Williams, and Greek composer Chatzopoulos.

ancient Olympia
Credit: Olympia Festival of The Arts

The 105-minute show concluded in a most unexpected finale, where the entire orchestra performed Dmitry Kabalevsky’s “Galop” in complete blindfold.

Leading the orchestra was music director Gary Nicholson, who co-founded CSYSA in 1980.

ancient Olympia
Music director Gary Nicholson leading the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Orchestra (CSYSA) at the theatre of ancient Olympia. Credit: Olympia Festival Of The Arts

The cities of Colorado Springs and Ancient Olympia became twin cities in 2014.

“The choice to start this year’s festival with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Orchestra concert shows our orientation towards events of an international level,” Giorgos Georgiopoulos, the mayor, stated. “We believe that Olympia can play a leading role in the production of high-level cultural events, with character and identity.”

“With the contribution of our partners at the Festival, we will continue this effort, hoping that soon this important cultural institution will open its wings for greater goals”, he added.

Ancient Olympia festival for diverse audiences

The International Arts Festival of Ancient Olympia 2022 features a total thirteen shows plus two special concerts, taking place between July 15th and August 19th.

Several of the festival events are founded either by the prefecture or by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The schedule includes ancient dramas and classical theatre plays, contemporary and traditional dance performances, folk music shows and pop concerts, aiming to cover all performing arts and to cater to diverse domestic and international visitors.

“A festival must be open, reaching out to society, expressing wider trends, without exclusions,” says Roi Antonopoulou, president of the public utility of the municipality of Ancient Olympia.

The ambition is to bring as many visitors to the theatre as possible, she explains, as people need to be amused and entertained after the two difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A brand new digital guide will be presented to visitors during the festival. The smartphone app will be introducing the ancient history and significance of Olympia through the use of theatre, cinema, and animation techniques.

Birthplace of the Olympic Games

The contemporary city of 14,000 inhabitants, located adjacent to the World Heritage Site of ancient Olympia, where the Olympic Games were held in antiquity, has suffered multiple devastating wildfires in recent years.

Some 450,000 olive trees were burnt in 2021’s fires alone, which triggered global support to help restore the damage as much as possible through various initiatives.

In a symbolic move to express their gratitude for the relief aid they received from across the country and the world, the municipality of Ancient Olympia will be symbolically collecting dry food at the entrance of two of the festival shows with free admission, which will be offered to nationwide Greek charities.

The first one of these shows is a concert celebrating a hundred years from the birth of great Greek musician Grigoris Bithikotsis, scheduled for Sunday, July 17th at 9:30 pm.

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