On the second anniversary of Mikis Theodorakis’ death, many reflect on the music icon’s last concert held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in 2017.
In a tribute to the legendary composer, who died on September 2, 2021, 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 fifty thousand adoring spectators filled the stadium to hear Theodorakis’ compositions performed in concert in the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games.
Mikis 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 Ftoxogeitonia.”
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.
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 that 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 that 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 that the incomparable Theodorakis left 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 Greek people regardless of their political affiliation.
“We lost a part of the soul of Greece,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. “Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis of all of us, the teacher, the intellectual, the radical left. The one who made all Greeks sing poets,” she added at the time.
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, spoke of a “pan-Hellenic figure and at the same time a universal artist, an invaluable asset of our musical culture.”
Watch the full concert below: