New program for the Olympia, City Music Theatre «Maria Callas»

During a scheduled press conference in the ceremonies chamber of the Athens City Hall, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, spoke about the historic theatre’s present and future and its importance in the City’s cultural life. The President of the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organization  (OPANDA), Niki Arampatzi, attended the event, as well as the Artistic Director of the Theatre and responsible for the artistic program of the Musical EnsemblesOlivier Descotes, who presented the various scheduled performances until May 2023 in detail.

In his address, MrBakoyannis referred to the cultural vision of the Municipality, made a brief review of the vital role of the Olympia during the previous season -in an effort to keep the “flame” of culture burning in the City- and spoke with pride for this year’s fresh start that the theatre is about to make. Last autumn, “Olympia’s come back to the cultural life of Athens, with several great productions, was warmly welcomed by Athenians and visitors to the City, filling us all with enthusiasm and pride. We will continue this year by offering a high-quality, diverse program put together by Olivier Descotes. Olympia is ready to make history in Athens, once again,” he stressed.

For her part, the President of OPANDA, Niki Arampatzi, spoke of Olympia’s irreplaceable contribution to fulfilling the Organization’s objectives to reintroduce culture to the citizens of Athens. “Olympia is the jewel of Athens, a beautiful building with a glorious past of unforgettable artistic moments. I am delighted that it has regained its glamour after its renovation and the artistic programming we designed, allowing different audiences to rediscover it. For OPANDA, whose primary objective is to make the daily life of the citizens more beautiful, this is the greatest reward,” she pointed out.

The Artistic Director of the Theatre, Olivier Descotes, referred to the challenges and triumphs of the previous year. At the same time, he laid the foundations and presented the pillars of the next period’s artistic vision in detail. “Olympia seeks to be a theatre for all, highlighting Greek culture and simultaneously being open to the international scene, to all quality music genres and forms of art. Two iconic Greek artists of the 20th century, Dimitris Mitropoulos and Maria Callas, are -this season- the guests of honour, not forgetting that the theatre is named after the leading opera diva. The theatre is guided by her artistic grandeur, excellence and diversity,” stressed Mr Descotes.

Musical ensembles and partnerships

The Municipality of Athens uses its artistic potential through the Musical Ensembles which accompany most productions. At the same time, it supports and promotes Greek creators – artists, musicians, soloists and creative groups – as its constant and primary focal point.

Still, it collaborates with international artists and important cultural institutions in the country and abroad, laying the foundations for new domestic and international collaborations so that Olympia soon fulfils its mission as a destination of global scope.

M. Callas and D. Mitropoulos: The guests of honour

The artistic period 2022-2023 seals the new identity of the theatre. As last year, voice, in all its forms, will be the focal pointof the fresh start.

Dimitris Mitropoulos and Maria Callas, two of the most important Greek artists who have left their mark on the world of opera and classical music, are this season’s guests of honour.

The starting point is a unique presentation of the opera “Sister Beatrice”, in concert form, composed by Dimitris Mitropoulos at a young age for Katina Paxinou, performed by a tremendous French-Greek cast with the great French soprano Catherine Hunold and the French conductor, Pierre Dumoussaud. Next, a mixed concert of chamber and symphonic music under the direction of Michael Economou and a round table discussion with eminent musicologists will allow the public to better understand Mitropoulos’ multifaceted artistic personality.

2023 marks the centenary of the birth of Maria Callas. The anniversary will be celebrated with appropriate pomp throughout the year. The tribute begins with the only Greek opera sung by the legendary soprano: ManolisKalomiris’ “Rrotomastoras”, thefirst opera he composed, which will be presented in concert form, conducted by the internationally acclaimed conductor, ZoiTsokanou, who recently made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Thecast consists mainly of Greeks who excel abroad, led by KonstantinosKlironomos and MaritinaTabakopoulou. She will appear for the first time in Greece in the demanding role of Smaragda.

“Iphigenia in Tauris”

This season’s new primary production is Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris, a landmark work in opera history and a significant success in Callas’ career when she sang the title role in 1957 at La Scala in Milan, directed by Luchino Visconti.

Thanos Papakonstantinou is the new stage director, while George Petrou, the internationally renowned conductor, will be the musical director. The glamorous cast includes distinguished lyric singers, including the Greek-Canadian soprano SoulaParassidis, who will be making her debut in Greece, the Argentine tenor Juan Francisco Gatell and the French baritone Phillipe-Nicolas Martin. 

Concerts in honour of Callas

Two concerts will complete the tribute to the woman who changed opera once and for all: On 9 February 2023, French mezzo-soprano. KarineDeshayes, who has performed in the world’s most excellent theatres, KláraKolonits and MaritinaTabakopoulou will join forces to pay tribute to the significant roles performed by Callas on stage-accompanied by the Italian conductor SebastianoRolli.

On 10 April 2023, the Musical Ensembles’ Easter concert will focus on Callas’s religious repertoire, mainly during her Athenian period. Following the success of last year’s New Year’s Gala, conductor Nikolas Nägele returns to the Olympia stage to lead the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra and Choir, with the participation of five outstanding Greek lyric singers.

Madame et son filleul (The Godson) for eight performances

One of the most beloved Athenian operettas was chosen for the end-of-year festive season: Theophrastos Sakellaridis’ “The Godson”, presented at the Olympia Theatre for eight performances. George Petrou is inspired by the production he directed in 2019 at the Athens Concert Hall, promising a new evolution of this performance, with many surprises and an excellent cast. 

Closing the opera cycle and continuing the long-standing tribute to Spyros Samarasthe opera “Lionella” will be presented this year in concert form. The music director Byron Fidetzis has rearranged the masterpiece with the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra and Choir, together with a cast of great opera singers.

Performances for young audiences

This year, Olympia will also host performances for young audiences. Next November, they will enjoy the children’s opera “Prince Ivan and the Firebird” by ThodorisAbazis, a massive success production at the National Opera House in 2017. Based on the Russian traditional fairy tale, Abazis, in his dual capacity as composer and director, creates a magical and colourful world, taking children on an exciting musical-theatrical journey.


In addition to opera, the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra will present several symphonies as part of its regular concerts, under the direction of its permanent conductors EleftheriosKalkanis, MichalisEconomou and Andreas Tselikas, and guest conductor VladimirosSimeonidis. At the same time, it will highlight less-known symphonies in Greece, such as those of the French composer ÉdouardLalo, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Contemporary Greek music

Contemporary Greek music will also have a prominent place in the program, with the works of two active composers: George Doussis and DimitrisMinakakis. Finally, MikisTheodorakis will be honoured again this year through a series of concerts. In the first, the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra will present the iconic “Alexis Zorbas” ballet suite with mezzo-soprano Artemis Bogris as a soloist, while in May 2023, the Choir will perform the composer’s works for a cappella choir with tenor YannisChristopoulos as soloist.

During the Christmas season, in addition to The Godson, the Choir will present “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, a concert with songs and hymns from all over the world with soprano MyrsiniMargariti as a soloist. Next, the Big Band will stir up the audience with a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, taking us back to the “golden” era of swing.

Greek repertoire and jazz

Partnerships with essential artists are vital for the Musical Ensembles’ concerts, and this year Olympia will welcome many Greek singers and jazz artists.

The City of Athens Greek Music Workshop will lead the audience to well-known (or less prominent) paths of the Greek repertoire, hosting great performers such as GiotaNega, Glykeria, ManolisMitsias, Lena Alkaiou, PantelisThalassinos and LakisChalkias. Similarly, the Big Band will collaborate with various artists from Greece and abroad (LoukiaPaleologou, TakisPaterelis, Katerina Polemi, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Marianna Seas, Dat Funk, Lana Janjanin, Andreas Polyzogopoulos), taking the audience on an exciting journey to the world of jazz and its various types and styles.

Concert time!

The list of concerts includes three additional ones to be held in collaboration with important cultural institutions. First, shortly before the national anniversary of October 28, the ERT Contemporary Music Orchestra and Choir will present a program dedicated to the songs of the 1940s, with EleniVoudourakis, IoannaForti and BabisVelissarios. Moreover, in May 2023, the ERT National Symphony Orchestra will present a tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven, conducted by MichalisEconomou.

In the same month, the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most active Greek orchestras, will present works by A. Honegger, M. Ravel, A. Dvořák, D. Shostakovich and K. Sfakianakis, under its artistic director Byron Fidetzis.

A century since the Asia Minor Catastrophe

In October, in the context of the 100th anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, the Athens Estudiantina will present a concert entitled “It was a dream, but we have not forgotten it – The Song of Smyrna”. A musical journey through the exceptional musical repertoire of Smyrna, under the artistic direction of Andreas Mazarakis.

In January 2023, the MikisTheodorakis Folk Orchestra will bring together two unique creators: Miki Theodorakis and VassilisTsitsanis. The Orchestra will highlight the “subtle” affinity of their art and their outstanding contribution to Greek folk music.

Finally, the great performer Maria Farantouri, after her triumphant performance last year at the Olympia Theatre, will be back – in May 2023 – with an original program dedicated to the poetry of Bertolt Brecht and musical theatre.

Olympia, following its vision for a cultural space open to all, continues cooperating with important institutions in Greece and abroad. Among the collaborations launched this year is the one with the Greek National School of Dance, which,in January 2023, will present a unique dance performance with new works by Greek choreographers performed by young students of the School.

Theatre always!

Theatre will also have a special place in Olympia’s programming with the new creation “Toulouse-Lautrec – The Fantasy of Sin” by Christoforos Christofis and DimosAvdeliotis.

In collaboration with the Italian authorities, the Embassy of Italy in Greece and the Italian Cultural Institute of Athens, a panorama of performing arts will be presented for the first time in Greece, introducing the contemporary artistic creation of the neighbouring country to the Greek audience, with the participation of renown artists: The performance “Best Regards”, which was a massive success with the brilliant performer Marco d’Agostin, the work “A posto” by the internationally acclaimed choreographer AmbraSenatore, as well as three performances by the Anagoor collective – an artistic group mainly known to Parisian, German and Swiss audiences.

Find the detailed program of Olympia, City Music Theatre “Maria Callas” on the theatre’s new site:

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