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Slovenian Day of Culture marked with a concert in Piraeus

With the evening of chansons and cabaret, performed by two talented Slovenian artists, Sabina Gruden, mezzo-soprano, and Rebeka Dobravec, piano, in the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, the Embassy of Slovenia in Athens marked Prešeren Day, a national holiday, celebrated every year on 8 February.

The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Athens with the kind support of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus for a second year in a row organized a music evening at the foyer of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus.

After a successful concert of a Greek-Slovenian duo Basili-Kosovinc last year in March, on 20 February 2024 two Slovenian artists, Sabina Gruden, Slovenian mezzo-soprano, accompanied by Rebeka Dobravec on piano performed before the Greek and international audience.

With the evening of chansons and cabaret in the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus the Embassy of Slovenia in Athens marked the Slovenian Day of Culture, a national holiday, celebrated every year on 8th February.

In her speech, the Slovenian Ambassador Tamara Weingerl Požar stressed the immense importance of culture for the Slovenian nation. Art and culture contributed decisively to the perseverance of the tiny nation throughout the centuries.

Among many talented Slovenian artists, a poet France Prešeren, has been undeniably the most prominent of them. Slovenian Day of Culture also known as Prešeren Day is celebrated on the day of his death on 8 February 1849 as his work and his legacy left a lasting imprint on the Slovenian culture.

Had he lived in our time, Prešeren would without a doubt be considered a true European, underlined the Ambassador. In his poem titled A Toast (Zdravljica), he dreams of the day when all the people would be free and the nations would live with each other in peace as neighbors, not as foes. It is not a coincidence that precisely these lines became the lyrics of the Slovenian national anthem in 1991, manifesting centuries of longing for a sovereign state in our homeland in the heart of Europe and a friendly cohabitation with the neighboring nations.

Prešeren's aspirations are still very much just a dream for many nations, communities and people around the globe. His call for peaceful co-existence is particularly relevant in this turbulent international environment.

Knowing all too well that nations, especially small, can only prosper in peace;  having no history of hostilities of any sorts and therefore being a genuine advocate for amicable relations among countries; Ambassador of Slovenia in Greece stressed a commitment of Slovenia to continue to act as an honest broker in the international fora, including in the UN.

She highlighted that Slovenia is looking forward to working together with Greece during a joint one-year period in the Security Council in pursuit of the global security.

The Ambassador also expressed her content that Slovenia and Greece have a lively bilateral political dialogue, which will culminate in April with the visit of the Slovenian President Ms Nataša Pirc Musar to Greece. Together with the Greek President Ms Katerina Sakellaropoulou she will address the opening of the Delphi Economic Forum.

In the focus of the Slovenian musical evening in Piraeus was a talented artist, a Slovenian opera singer Sabina Gruden, and gifted young pianist Rebeka Dobravec. The artists performed musical pieces of a number of world composers and various musical genres.

The audience could enjoy in the music pieces of the German-American composer Kurt Weill, Périchole’s aria from the opera La Périchole, composed by Jacques Offenbach and a selection of William Bolcom's brilliant Cabaret Songs.

The artists honored the Greek hosts with the famous Agapi pou ‘gines by Vassilis Tsitsanis and Manos Hadjidakis.

The last part of the evening was dedicated to the Slovenian evergreen classics. The audience could indulge in the uplifting melodies of beloved songs such as Brez besed/Without words, Poletna noč/Summer night and Med iskrenimi ljudmi/Among honest people by Mojmir Sepe and Mlade oči/Young eyes by Jure Robežnik.

In addition to the speech of the Slovenian Ambassador to Greece, Ms Weingerl Požar, the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Piraeus Mr Yiannis Chatzialexis addressed the audience.