Athena Papadimitriou; an “ambassador” of Greek and Hungarian Culture / αγγλικά / απόδημος ελληνισμός
Thessaloniki,  15.09.2010
For 35 consecutive years she has been successful in the cultural activities of Hungary, where she was born and raised by Greek parents, with roots from Alexandria in Egypt. It is no other than, Athena Papapadimitriou, who rightfully feels proud for having managed to be one of the artists-ambassadors of Greek and Hungarian culture. That’s why she was chosen by Hungary to perform at the 75th Thessaloniki International Fair, as it is the country of honor for this year.
“I am very proud of my Greek origin”, states Athena Papadimitriou to ANA – MPA, whose guide in life are the words of her father Nikolaos; “Love the homeland you live in, but never forget your roots”.
A few days ago, a book about Ms. Papadimitriou was released in Hungary, entitled “Athena – touch, emotion, stories of her life”, by the well-known Hungarian producer-author Janos Perjes, a man who knows her from her first steps of her career and wanted to present highlights from the life of the artist who is well known for her rich temperament.
Athena’s parents lived in Alexandria of Egypt. Newlyweds at the time, they were separated by World War II. Her father, Nikolaos, fought alongside the British. From Egypt he came to Athens and then took part in the Civil War. Eventually, he chose to follow the path of immigration and went to Hungary in 1949, where he settled in Budapest. Her mother, Kallistheni Yalouri, who had remained in Alexandria, followed him later in 1951.
The couple had two children, Athena and Gregory, who were raised as all Greek children abroad, with genuine love for the homeland of their parents.
Athena Papadimitriou, from a young age had a talent in acting. In 1972 she took exams at the only (at the time) State Theatre School, where she achieved a distinguished place. The road for Athena had already been open. Upon her graduation, she is hired at the National Theatre, where she played various great roles in Shakespeare plays, Chekov, Ipsen but also Lysistrata, Electra… Many plays and beautiful performances such as the memories from the journeys with the National Theatre of Hungary in many countries of Eastern Europe and Latin America.
A role that enchanted her was the role of Melina, at the homonymous play by a renowned writer, Be Touran, which was crowned with great success.
Over the years, Athena chose to get involved with the musical genre, which eventually won her over, because, as she says, the marriage of music and prose is what expresses her. She prefers songs for the soul, Hungarian, Greek and Latin. Among Greek performers she particularly likes Haroula Alexiou, whose songs she performs and would love to meet her in person some time.
In recent years she has been working at the well known “Operettsunhaz” in Budhapest, where each performance forms an event, whilst she has released two albums with her songs.
Athena Papadimitriou, willingly responds to every call of Hellenes in Hungary (about 3000 left now), taking part in many events, while she is taking part at the Greek broadcast of the 1st channel of the Hungarian National Television Network with Electra Agarte.
Her parents and brother have passed away, but her Greek family continues with her three daughters (Nora, Anna and Rika) who speak Greek as well as their mothers and adore Greece, which they often visit to meet their relatives and friends.
About two decades ago, Athena took part in the film by Lefteris Xanthopoulos “Happy Homecoming, Comrade”, where she took on the role of the Greek bride who is getting married to a Hungarian man, something that Greeks at the time were trying to avoid at all costs. The movie was filmed at Beloiannisz village in Hungary and it is based on the real event of an refugee politician’s death, a few hours before his departure for home coming, where he would have returned 28 years after his residence in Hungary.
Another notable collaboration which Athena mentions, is at the “Thessalian Theatre” in 1980, where she played at the “Shepherdess’ lover” the role of Krystalo, with Anna Vagena as her mother and directed by Diagoras Chronopoulos.
Source: ANA – MPA