By Alix Norman
The long hot summer is drawing to a close, and with it the cultural desert of July and August. And though, in terms of temperature, autumn in Cyprus may not be the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the next couple of months are certainly going to be culturally fertile: there’s the Pafos Aphrodite Festival, the annual Limassol Wine Festival and bursting onto the scene at the start of September –the grandfather of all cultural events – the Kypria International Festival.
A celebration of the performing arts, for the past two decades The Kypria International Festival has encompassed the best of both local and foreign talent, showcasing cultural events of the highest standard. With distinguished artists from the fields of dance, theatre, music, visual arts and the cinema, the Kypria Festival boasts something for everyone. Previous years have seen performances from, among others, the English National Symphony Orchestra, the Salzburg Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, The Rhine Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba and the National Theatre of Greece. And there must be very few people on the island who weren’t aware of John Malkovich’s outstanding performance in Infernal Comedy: Confessions of A Serial Killer, which toured under the auspices of the Festival in 2011.
With such a distinguished history, it’s hard to believe that the organisers can better their previous efforts, but they’ve certainly been working flat out to surpass themselves: as of 2013, the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture have appointed an Artistic Director, tasked with refreshing the festival’s image and improving standards. The 32 events in this year’s series have been linked under the heading ‘Mythology, Myths and History as a source of inspiration and artistic creation’, a concept that ensures this year’s festival is already a legend in the making.
The first event falls on September 3, with the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra choosing to interpret this year’s theme with a concert entitled ‘Mozart – The Life of a Legend who has marked the History of Music’, followed on September 11, 14 and 16 by three dance performances of ‘Atitlo’ by living legend Carolina Constantinou, and the play ‘A Misunderstanding Concerning the Sweet Land of Cyprus’ at the Archbishop Makarios III Amphitheatre in Strovolos.
September 19, 20 and 21 see what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the festival: the acclaimed Spellbound Contemporary Ballet from Italy in their rendition of Carl Orff’s classic, ‘CarminaBurana’. Under the auspices of Artistic Director and Founder, Mauro Astofoli, the 100 plus performances so far have delighted audiences around the globe, playing to packed houses in countries as far afield as Austria, Thailand and Spain. With its clear links to the Kypria theme in its revitalisation of the Chaos of Pan through the harmony of Orpheus, the performance is billed as a “reckless cry of dissent, taking on taboos with the expressed desire of breaching them, consciously defying censorship and anathemas, playing cards in a daily game against death”.
Another unmissable event is the Cyprus’ Theatre Organisation’s ‘Romeo and Juliet For Two’, an adaption of what is probably Shakespeare’s best-known play. With a total of six performances (including one at Sotira Town Hall in Famagusta on October 11 – the only event of the series to take place on our eastern shores) the play is touted as “A show for the young and for all those young at heart. A crazy brain-game of cross-dressing and transformations. Two young actors and a musician discover from the beginning the deepest, the most extreme, the most poetically hilarious love of all time”.
Having begun in Nicosia, it’s fitting that the last two performances of the festival should take place in Limassol: October 16 and October 20 both see performances of ‘Mythodea’ by the Diastasis Dance Group. The basis of this dance performance is the musical composition by Vangelis Papathanassiou, written especially for NASA’s ‘odyssey’ to Mars. “’Mythodea’ is the vehicle for a trip to space of the myths contained in ancient Greek mythology: of Heaven and Earth, Mars and the children of Phobos and Demos, the Titans and the Giants,” say the organisers, and this cohesion of the myths of past and future is an apt choice for the festival’s curtain call. As the weather cools down, the cultural scene is certainly hotting up, and the Kypria International Festival offers the opportunity to enjoy your own cultural odyssey through the coming autumn.
KYPRIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2013
For a full schedule of all 32 events, visit www.kypria.org.cy or call 7000 2212 during working hours (09:00-17:00). Tickets are available at SOEASY kiosks islandwide, TIMEOUT kiosk in Paphos and at www.soldoutticketbox.com