Menis Koumandareas: The Hidden Hand of the Author – Trieste

Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Trieste University (Department of Modern Languages) and the Greek Orthodox Community of Trieste  invite you to the annual lecture marking end of the school year in the Modern Greek program . This year’s lecture, Menis Koumandareas: The Hidden Hand of the  Author,  will be given by Professor M. Kassotaki .

Friday, June 5, 18:00
Jubilee Room, Filoxenia, Via Mazzini 3, Trieste.

This evening will be a tribute to one of the most important Greek writers of the 20th century, who died on December 6, 2014: murdered in Athens, the city he loved and described as no other modern writer. Athens for Menis Koumandareas has always been a protagonist in his writings – not the tourist and folkloric view of the city, but the inner, hidden side of the everyday neighborhoods where he lived.

Koumandareas was a master at describing Athenian life of the last 50 years: “I am eminently and persistently an “athinaiografos” [chronicler of Athens] … By now, readers must be bored reading about Victoria Square. I avoid becoming a tourist in the city. When you write a story about the city you should look at its heroes very closely and be very detached. The original corner in which to discover them is always be yourself … “.

Besides novels and short stories, Koumandareas translated Ernest Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. In Italy two of his books have been published: The Smell Makes Me Cry (1999) and Vest No. 9 (2003). The latter being also the base of the eponymous film by Pantelis Voulgaris. This is one of the most famous and popular novels of Modern Greece and the most widely translated of Koumantareas’ novels.

The custody of the musical-literary evening belongs to Mary Kassotaki, who specializes in teaching Modern Greek at the University of Trieste. The program of the event includes readings of texts in Greek by Italian students of the Modern Greek language schools of the Greek Orthodox Community of Trieste, the University of Trieste, the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Slovenian School of Trieste, France Prešeren. The songs will be performed by Irene Brigitte (voice), Giovanni Settimo (guitar) and Andrea Monterosso (violin).

The program in detail:

– “Μωρή κοντούλα λεμονιά” (traditional song), reading by the students of the children’s section of the Greek Community.
– “Γιασεμί μου,” a traditional song.
– “Πουλί σε δέντρο αρχοντικό” (lyrics: A. Alkaios, music: S. Malamas, 2000), reading of texts by adult learners of the Greek Community of Trieste.
– “Το δέντρο” (lyrics and music: D. Savvopoulos, 1966), reading of texts by adult learners of the Greek Community of Trieste.
– “Δέντρο το δέντρο” (Lyrics: C. Ritsos, music: M.. Theodorakis, 1966), reading by students of Hellenic Foundation for Culture.
– “Μικρή πατρίδα” (lyrics: P. Karasoulos music: C. Andreou, 1996), reading by the students of the Slovenian School of Trieste, France Prešeren.
– “Μικρό παιδί σαν ήμουνα” (lyrics: A. Vergopoulos music: Av. Kokotos), reading by students of the University of Trieste (Modern Language).

Bibliography of Menis Koumantareas:

Τα μηχανάκια (Pin-ball Machines), 1962
Το αρμένισμα (The Saint), 1967
Τα καημένα (The Burnt Ones), 1972
Βιοτεχνία Υαλικών (Glass Factory), 1975
Η κυρία Κούλα (Koula), 1978
Το κουρείο (The Barber Shop), 1979
Σεραφείμ και Χερουβείμ (Seraphim and Cherubim), 1981
Ο ωραίος Λοχαγός (The Handsome Lieutenant), 1982
Η φανέλα με τό εννιά (Vest No. 9), 1986
Πλανόδιος Σαλπιγκτής (The Wondering Trumpeter), 1989
Η συμμορία της Άρπας (The Harps’s Gang), 1993
Θυμάμαι τη Μαρία (I remember Maria), 1994
Η μυρωδιά τους με κάνει να κλαίω (Their Smell Makes me Cry), 1996
Η μέρα για τα γραπτά κι η νύχτα για το σώμα (Days Good for Writing and Nights Suit the Body), 1999
Δυο φορές Έλληνας (Twice a Greek), 2001
Νώε (Noah), 2003
Η γυναίκα που πετά (The Woman that Flies), 2006
Θυμάμαι τη Μαρία (I remember Mary), 2007
Το show είναι των Ελλήνων (The Show is Greek), 2008
Σ’ ένα στρατόπεδο άκρη στην ερημιά (In a Boot Camp on the Edge of Wilderness), 2009
Ξεχασμένη Φρουρά (Forgotten Guard), 2010
Οι αλεπούδες του Γκόσπορτ (The Foxes of Gosport), 2011
Θάνατος στο Βαλπαραΐζο (Death in Valparaiso), 2013
Ο θησαυρός του χρόνου (The Treasure of Time), 2014