Elli Solomonidi – Balanou


    Sketch artist, Set Designer, Costume Designer

    Member of the Greek Drama and Music Critics Union


    She was born in Athens in 1931 to Minor Asian parents. She attended courses at the Athens-based School of Fine Arts and also studied at the Department of Set/Costume Design of the Constantinos Doxiadis Athens Technological Institute. Among her instructors were Yiannis Moralis, Yannis Tsarouchis, Spyros Vassiliou, Vassilis Vassiliadis and engraver Tassos (Anastasios Alevizos). She also studied at the French Institute of Athens; on a scholarship from the Italian Institute, she attended art classes at the Italian University for Foreigners, Perugia.

    She worked as a music producer with the Greek State Radio (EIR), where she was also in charge of the music in some radio theater broadcasts. In 1965 she became the first set/costume designer with the theater department of the newly established Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT).

    She collaborated with Spyros Evangelatos’ «Amphitheatre» and various theatres as a set/costume designer.

    She worked with the Greek National Opera from 1961 to 1995 as set/costume designer in the operas: Werther, Manon and Manon Lescaut; the operetta: Countess Maritza [Gräfin Mariza]; and, the ballets: Carmen, Carmen Suite, Giselle, Don Quixote and Les Sylphides. Overall, she worked in 31 productions and/or revivals.

    From 1961 until 1967 she has worked as a sketch artist for Eleni Vlahou’s Athens Mesimvrini newspaper and Ikones magazine, and from 1974 up to 2011 with Eleni Vlahou’s Athens Kathimerini newspaper. Her sketches, printed along with the review of each theatre play, music concert or dance performance, are known to capture and immortalize with brief eloquent lines the aroma of each artistic event.

    Over the years, her characteristic sketches accompanied the reviews of important critics, like Tassos Lignadis, Minos Dounias, Yorgos Leotsakos, Manolis Skouloudis, Alexis Diamantopoulos, Stathis Dromazos, Yiannis Varveris, Spyros Payatakis, Nikos Dontas, Rena Aggouridou, Andreas Rikakis.
    She also often adorned with her sketches Eleni Bistika’s column “Simiomatario” in Kathimerini.

    In the thousand sketches of her Archive, half a century of Athens’ cultural life is vividly depicted.

    She has exhibited her work both in Greece and abroad.

    Part of her extensive archive was published in two albums (L. Bratzioti publications):
    “30 years of sketches, Theater-Music-Dance”, (1988).

    “Sketches of Elli Solomonidi Balanou, 1987-2007”, (2008)

    She is a member of Greek and international organizations and agencies, such as: the Hellenic Centre of the International Theatre Institute, UNESCO International Dance Council (CID), Center for the Study and Research of Greek Theater (Theatrical Museum of Greece), Association of Smyrneans, Greek Guiding Association, National Historical Museum and, Friends of the Museum of the City of Athens. She is also a member of Greek Drama and Music Critics Union, which she has served as a member of its Executive Committee as well as member of Greek Critics Prize Committees.

    She has been honoured by the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Association of Smyrneans, the Union of Greek Critics for drama and music, the Association of Greek Choreographers, the Gina Bachauer International Music Association.

    In 2011 she was honoured by the Athens Academy for her 50-year contribution to Arts in Greece.