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Theodorakis - Chronology (X)

Between Politics and Music 1988-1996


by Guy Wagner and Asteris Koutoulas

Structure and pictures: Guy Wagner


Winter: The political crisis in Greece gets worse.

April: Theodorakis meets Konstantin Mitsotakis, leader of the conservative »Nea Dimokratia« (New Democracy Party), and suggests forming a coalition government of the Right and the Left.

13 & 14.05. During the »Whitsun Meeting« of the FDJ (Free German Youth) in East Berlin, »Canto General« is performed as a ballet (choreography by Harald Wandtke) in the.»Palast der Republik«. At meetings with officials of the GDR, Theodorakis insists on the need for reforms in the country.

18.06. At the parliamentary elections, "Nea Dimokratia" of Mitsotakis misses an absolute majority by six seats.

01.07. The Communists agree to support a government formed by the independent Tzannis Tzannetakis.

05.11. Theodorakis stands as independent candidate of the left for »Nea Dimokratia« and helps to clear the way for a Great Coalition under Xenophon Zolotas, with the aim of provoking a »katharsis« (purification) from the scandals and corruption in the ministries and the economy.


08.04. Konstantin Mitsotakis' party wins 150 seats, one vote short of an absolute majority.

11.04. Mitsotakis forms the new government. Theodorakis becomes Cabinet Minister without portfolio beside the Prime Minister.

04.05. Constantin Karamanlis becomes  again President of the Republic.

Yannis Ritsos (Dresden 1984).
Photo Guy Wagner

11.11. Yannis Ritsos dies.


Theodorakis initiates a big campaign against drugs to make the Greeks aware of this problem in their country.

01.10. Creation of the opera "Medea", conducted by Loukas Karytinos, at the Opera Arriaga in Bilbao.


April: Theodorakis resigns from the government.

Theodorakis conducts the ERT Orchestra



February: Theodorakis resigns from parliament. Later, he become general musical director of the Choir and the two Orchestras of the Hellenic State Radio (ERT), which he reorganises and with which he undertakes successful concert tours abroad.

April: At last, Theodorakis can perform "Canto General" in Santiago di Chile .

Andreas Papandreou comes back to power. Melina Mercouri is reappointed Minister of Culture..

16.05. Theodorakis receives President Mitterrand in his house at Vrachati.

06. & 08.07. Greek creation of "Medea" during the Athens Festival.


06.03. Melina Mercouri dies in New York of lung cancer.

March: Theodorakis undertakes a new European concert tour, whose theme is "Music without frontiers".

Spring Summer: 14 concerts in the USA and Canada.

04.05. A resolution of the US-Senate welcomes Theodorakis to the United States.

15.06. Manos Hadjidakis dies in Athens at the age of 69.

17.06. Theodorakis tenders his resignation as general musical director of the Choir and the Orchestras of ERT. He attacks the media empire of Christos Lambrakis.

Autumn-Winter: Theodorakis composes "Politia G", taking up the musical tradition of the Sixties.

He publishes his "Children's Songs" (1937-1953) on a double CD.


08.03. Constantin (Kostis) Stephanopoulos is elected President of the Republic.

After the creation of "Elektra":
Theodorakis with his two biographers
Gail Holst and Guy Wagner

02.05. Luxembourg, European City of Culture 1995: Creation of the opera "Elektra" at the Municipal Theatre, with the Opera Wielki of Poznan (Director: Marek Weiss-Grzesinski; conductor: José Maria Florencio jr.).

05.05. Creation of "Medea" in German in Meiningen.

08.05. Performance of the "Mauthausen-Cantata" in the Austrian concentration camp. This performance is followed by a new and last European concert tour with Maria Farantouri and Lakis Karnezis. On 14.05. in Differdange (Luxembourg)

29.07. Numerous concerts in Greece and all over Europe to mark the composer's 70th birthday.

16.-18.08. Symposium on Theodorakis and his work at Agios Nikolaos (Crete).

End of autumn  Successful tour in Australia.


15.01. Andreas Papandreou resigns as prime minister, but remains president of PASOK. His successor as prime minister is Constantin (Costas) Simitis.

Spring Summer Tensions between Greece and Turkey about several islands in the Aegean Sea and Cyprus, where two Greek Cypriots are killed by Turkish soldiers: War seems imminent. Costas Simitis manages to lower the tension.

01.02. Correspondence between Theodorakis and Zülfü Livaneli: Both worry about these tensions.

14.03. Theodorakis is appointed Officer of the Légion d'Honneur by the French ambassador in Greece. François Mitterrand signes the decree before leaving the Elysée Palace.

24.05. Theodorakis is appointed "doctor honoris causa" of the University of Crete.

23.06. The former Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou dies at the age of 77.

31.07. & 01.08. Premiere in Greece of "Elektra" at Irodion (Athens). Direction: Nikos Koundouris. Theodorakis himself conducts his opera, on 1.8.

22.09. Costas Simitis wins the anticipated elections: 163 seats of 300 for PASOK.

22.10. Premiere in Germany of "Elektra" at Theater Heilbronn (Production of Teatr Poznan). The composer attends the performance.

23.11. "Canto General" is conducted by Theodorakis at the Munich Philharmonie.

07.12. Yannis Theodorakis, Mikis' brother dies at the age of 64. He is buried in the family tomb in Galata (Crete).

Mother, brother
Half a century ago :
Theodorakis with his mother and his brother
in 1947

© Guy Wagner & Asteris Koutoulas, 1996-2002. All pictures © FILIKI & Mikis Theodorakis

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