The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) will be celebrating the vibrancy of Greek culture through Rebetiko music on May 3, 2023. Rebetiko in Symphony, the fourth in QPAC’s concert series, will feature a full symphony orchestra and one of Greece’s leading vocalists, Ifigeneia Ioannou.
Rebetiko music, beloved in Greece and often referred to as the “Greek Blues,” will be the genre of choice for the evening. Ifigeneia Ioannou will perform Rebetiko classics by Stavros Xarchakos from the iconic 1983 film Rembetiko by Costas Ferris. The film was based on the life of Greek singer Marika Ninou, who became a musician and singer after World War II before tragically dying young.
The concert will also include the music of Kostas Skarvelis, Vassilis Tsitsanis, and Panayiotis Toundas, regarded as the founders of the Rebetiko movement. Ioannou will be accompanied by a full symphony orchestra under the baton of acclaimed Greek-Australian conductor George Ellis.
According to Ellis, “The performance of Xarchakos’ music is an essential component of Greek culture and life. To do so in Australia, on the other side of the world, is an honour.”
For Ioannou, Rebetiko music is the soul of Greece. “Rebetiko carries the stories, anxieties, and dreams of everyday people,” she explains. “Its timelessness derives from its truth, and I’m excited to live this experience in Australia, the home of such a vibrant and dynamic Greek community.”
Rebetiko is musical storytelling with roots in the struggles and difficulties of the everyday life of refugees and the Greek diaspora. It combines different musical styles with lyrics touching on the harsh realities of an oppressed subculture lifestyle of those who had fled war in other countries to find a better life in Greece.
Rebetiko in Symphony will present a unique experience as Rebetiko music is more often played by a smaller ensemble of fewer than 10 musicians and on this rare occasion will be performed by a full symphony orchestra. Tickets are on sale now at qpac.com.au.