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Boston Youth Orchestra marks completion of lower koilon at ancient Dodona theater

Access to the restored lower seating area of the ancient theater of Dodona was celebrated with a concert by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on Tuesday evening, World Music Day.

Restoration work will continue in the rest of the seating (koilon) area at the stone theater constructed during the reign of King Pyrrhus of Epirus in the 3rd century BC, Minister of Culture & Sports Lina Mendoni said at the event, which also included the Greek Parliament Speaker Constantine Tassoulas.

The theater was used for performances from August 1960 to the summer of 1998, when the ministry decided to stop its use in order to continue conservation and restoration work on the monument. In that active period, performances were booked through the Society of Epirot Studies.

Mendoni likened the 22-year freeze of activities that preceded yesterday’s event to the monument’s going into intensive care but coming out of it revived. “We all want monuments to be alive, integral parts of society, part of our daily lives,” she noted, “because monuments survive not when specialists are taking care of them, but when people enjoy them – this is real protection.”

A total of five theaters in Epirus have received funding from the regional/NSRF 2014-2020 program and will be part of another project, the Cultural Path of Epirus, included in developing the region, she said. The other theaters are at Gitani, Amvrakia, Kassopi, and Nikopolis.

Tassoulas said that excavations at the bouleuterion in the site of Dodona will be funded by the Greek Parliament.

The project for the lower seats of the theater, completed so far, was budgeted at 4.79 million euros. The middle seating area is the next project.

Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra performed works by Ravel, Elgar and Shostakovich, and was conducted by renowned musician Benjamin Zander. The concert was attended, besides Mendoni and Tassoulas, by Environment Deputy Minister Giorgos Amiras, Regional Director of Epirus Alexandros Kachrimanis, Dodona Mayor Christos Dakaletsis, and Ioannina Ephorate of Antiquities Director Varvara Papadopoulou.