Friday, April 4, 2008

Agnes crosses over

The Athens Megaron
Agnes Baltsa
Stavros Xarhakos
State Orchestra of Greek Music
Athens 3rd of April, 2008

After a series of successful concerts all over the globe, Agnes Baltsa finally brought "her" greek songs to Athens. In a Gala (benefit) performance, at the sold-out "Alexandra Trianti" Hall of the Athens Megaron, Agnes offered us a Night to Remember.

Exquisitely coiffed and gowned (the gown was imperial!!), and in a great mood, she sang music by greek composers Hadjidakis, Theodorakis, Xarhakos, Tsitsanis, Peristeris, Bizet. Hey! Wait a minute, Bizet???
Weeell, yeeeaah, at the end, as an encore and without a symphony orchestra but a modern orchestra with some traditional greek instruments, she sang Carmen's Habanera and brought down the house.

Baltsa's performance was sensitive, accurate, bridging successfully the gap between classical singing and greek folk/serious music.

During a press conference in Athens last week, Baltsa talked about the difficulties which arise when it comes to interpreting songs which have been described as the “gospel” of a nation.

“I sing with great fear and respect, with a sense of responsiblity as much as joy,” noted the mezzo-soprano.

But above all, Agnes' performance brought tears to our eyes and gave us goose bumps in more than one occasions.

If i could choose a moment or two, i would say without a second thought Tsitsanis' song
"Arhontissa" and the last one, Xarhakos' "Nyn kai Aei". The first one you can find in the original Deutsche Grammophon cd (1986).

The second one you can find here!

1. Stou Othona ta hronia (When Otto was a king)

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(someone! please! shoot the bitch that was coughing behind me during the whole night)

2. Nyn kai aei (Now and forever)

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3. Habanera, the way you never heard it before! Strange, huh?

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Rena Fan said...

I envy you! I wish I had been there... Did she also sing Xarhakos's "To praktorio"? She sang it in Thessaloniki in 2005 and it was a divinely austere rendition...

Parsifal said...

Yes indeed! It was great, haunting but i could say that all songs were sung in a divine way! I have recordings of this song from Thessaloniki but also from Ingolstadt/2004 and Regensburg/2004!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

When she sang her Greek songs in her 2 recitals in Tokyo, the audience was so mesmerised that you could hear a pin drop. Somehow on those 2 magical occasions, music brought the east and west together and achieved the total unity of humanity. I wish Agnes will come back to Asia again very soon. She was in Beijing last October and the audience in the Poly Theatre had a great time!