The Corriere della Sera correspondent remembers the great Greek actress who passed away. And it reveals some unpublished episodes of a simple and sincere womanIrene Papas, 1926-2022
How right was my great and unforgettable director of the Corriere della Sera Alberto Cavallari. The moment in life comes that you turn around and see only an endless series of crosses. Today, Wednesday, September 14th, I had one of the most painful news. She left us, at the age of 96, Irene Papas, a Greek actress, one of the women who have been dearest to me. An affectionate, clear, sincere friend. Cultural soul of a country, Greece, which is my second homeland.
THE POLITICAL PASSION - Irene lived in Athens not far from my house, and we often met to chat, exchange ideas on relations between our countries, especially international politics, and sometimes even on pleasant gossip. She was lively, ready to joke, spontaneous, just the way I like it. Long-limbed, enveloping, curious about everything. The mere presence of her animated an event, an evening, a business lunch. She admired Andreas Papandreu, my great friend and founder of PASOK, but she also had close ties with the liberal-conservative leaders of the 'New Democracy'.
THE FRIENDSHIP WITH THEODORAKIS - I have carved a couple of episodes of her in the heart that enrich the life of a journalist. We had some mutual friends, including the great musician Mikis Theodorakis, who told me all the secrets of power, and the Aphrodite's Child musical ensemble, and we often met in a restaurant in Kolonaki, in the heart of Athens. But the second episode, which I often remember, and which I have dreamed of just as often, is very special. The Corriere della Sera he asked me to go to Spain to follow Irene Papas, who was performing in Sagunto.
MOZZARELLA IN THE TUB - I prepared for the trip and left eager to attend the show of my favorite Greek diva. We went down to the same hotel, and on the first or second evening Irene invited me to have a digestive in her room. Between us there was a strong almost family friendship, because she was also a great friend of my wife. The problem is, while we were having a pleasant discussion about her show, I asked her if I could take advantage of her bathroom to wash her hands. I swear I was shocked and amused. Dozens or maybe hundreds of buffalo mozzarella, of which the actress was greedy, sailed in the tub. She asked me, as soon as I returned to the living room, if I was struck by the scene. I replied that I admired her for her great simplicity. In recent years we have met rarely. But when I saw her it was always a pleasant surprise. At nearly a hundred years old, my Irene was still her.