Letter: Mikis Theodorakis obituary

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When Mikis Theodorakis met the poet Pablo Neruda in Chile, the two men became firm friends. This led to Theodorakis setting Canto General to music, with Neruda attending rehearsals in 1972 in Paris. The first four movements were completed in 1973 and the oratorio is regarded as one of Theodorakis’s most important works.

His music was much loved in Sweden – Theodorakis’s song Einai megalos o kaimos (The anguish is great) was sung at the funeral of the assassinated prime minister Olof Palme, performed by the Finnish singer Arja Saijonmaa.

While Thedorakis was living in exile in Paris, Melina Mercouri helped keep the voice of Greece alive during the junta regime by singing his songs. Jules Dassin collaborated with him on Phaedra (1962, starring Mercouri and Anthony Perkins) and The Rehearsal (1974, starring Arthur Miller, Laurence Olivier, Maximilian Schell, Mercouri and Theodorakis), for which the composer wrote the scores.

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