Starting in September, OPANDA will host a dazzling array of events at the breathtaking Gem Building in Athens. The events will feature exciting international collaborations, noteworthy productions, and special tributes to legendary figures such as Maria Callas, Fauré, and the vibrant culture of ¡Viva España!
K. Bakoyannis: “The stage of Olympia will showcase top productions – We invite all Athenians and visitors to the City to book their seats again this year in the beloved theatre of Akadimias Street.”
At a special event hosted at the city hall last night, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, and the Artistic Director of the Olympia City Music Theatre “Maria Callas”, Olivier Decot, announced the upcoming program for 2023-2024, set to commence in September.
The City Music Theatre, a member of “Opera Europa,” the leading opera organization in Europe, is bringing even more famous productions to the historical building of Athens this September 27, following a highly successful year during which it welcomed over 30,000 spectators.
The Athens Sports, Culture and Youth Organisation (OPANDA) has organized a new program, signed by Olivier Decot, to make the City Music Theatre a hub for international cultural meetings. The program focuses on the Music Ensembles of the City of Athens: the Athens Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the City of Athens Greek Music Workshop, and the Big Band. The upcoming season promises to be thrilling, featuring renowned Greek performers, soloists, and conductors of international acclaim.
In a statement, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, stressed:
“This will be another great year for the culture of Athens. From September, the stage of “Olympia” will shine with more exceptional productions in which – as always – renowned Greek and international artists will star. Following the previous successful period, the City of Athens has prepared, with the same vision and even greater enthusiasm, a spectacular program of international status for the Athenians to enjoy. I want to extend a warm thank-you to the artistic director of Olympia, Olivier Decot, who has once again created an incredible program for the City Theatre. We encourage all Athenians to book their seats early to enjoy some of the best performances of the year. “
For his part, the Artistic Director of the Theatre, Olivier Decot, said: “The artistic program of the Olympia, City Music Theatre “Maria Callas” that I have created for the third year represents, perhaps, more than any other season, our vision for the Theatre: Open to all kinds of music creation and art, but always focusing on the lyric theatre. I want to thank all those artists from Greece and abroad who accepted my invitation to participate in the productions of Olympia. I am excited to announce our new partnership with the Göttingen International Handel Festival and the Athens State Orchestra. While we prepare for the upcoming season, please stay updated by subscribing to our YouTube channel. We regularly update it with our most successful productions from previous years, allowing us to leave a lasting impression on our audience. “
Through a wide range of musical events with a priority on Operas, with even more and larger productions and important international collaborations, Olympia City Music Theatre “Maria Callas” brings together the Greek creation with international artists.
The upcoming season will feature an increased number of opera productions. There will be three central stage performances, three operas presented in a concert format, an opera gala, and several concerts highlighting the vocal talents of international artists from some of the world’s most renowned opera houses.
Highlights of the New Season
The new season’s program consists, among other things, of essential opera productions. The City of Athens is making its first major international lyric co-production with the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, the world’s oldest baroque music festival dedicated to Handel.
The leading Greek conductor, George Petrou, artistic director of the German festival, conducts and directs the opera Semeli, which was a massive success for audiences and critics last May. The Swiss soprano Marie Lys, the new star of the baroque scene, in the homonymous role and an excellent cast of distinguished artists, collaborates with the Athens Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
The Olympia brings back Rossini’s “Cinderella” with a new cast led by the talented mezzo-soprano Svetlina Stoyanova. Rodoula Gaitanou directs the production and features a group of soloists specialising in Rossini’s works. The musical direction is in the hands of the German conductor Nikolas Nägele, who is well-versed in bel canto. Stoyanova, a regular performer at Teatro alla Scala and Wiener Staatsoper, takes on the title role of Cinderella.
The new lyrical production of the City of Athens, the popular operetta “The Apaches of Athens”, will be presented with a double cast of exceptional Greek singers and actors, including Zozo Sapountzaki as a guest. The Athens Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will be conducted by Cornelius Michaelides, who recently triumphed at the Teatro Real in Madrid and directed by Vassilis Mavrogeorgiou.
The program features concerts of operas, including Bellini’s “I Puritani,” which is part of the 2023 tribute to Maria Callas. The leading roles are played by a quartet of passionate performers, including Greek soprano Christina Poulitsi and American tenor John Osborn, who has performed in major opera houses worldwide. The Athens State Orchestra collaborates with the Olympia Theatre for the first time, conducted by French conductor Alphonse Cemin.
Spyros Samaras’ opera “Medgé” will be performed for the first time in Greece with an orchestra. The Athens Philharmonia Orchestra is collaborating on the production, featuring new orchestration by Byron Fidetzis. The libretto, originally in French by Paul Milliet, will also be performed in its original language.
Another premiere is Fauré’s opera “Penelope” with the Athens State Orchestra, in the context of its collaboration with the Olympia Music Theatre, as well as a glamorous cast of French and Greek performers, among whom the great dramatic soprano Catherine Hunold: Together with the conductor Pierre Dumoussaud, they are back after their triumphant “Sister Beatrice” by Dimitris Mitropoulos, at the City Theatre of Athens.
Great performers such as the French soprano Catherine Hunold, the Russian tenor Dmitry Korchak and the Italian bassist Riccardo Fassi collaborate with the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the City of Athens under the baton of the Italian conductor Alessandro Bonato, who triumphed last year at the Musikverein in Vienna, in a unique concert dedicated to the Italian composers who composed masterpieces in French.
The Athens Symphony Orchestra will present a rich symphonic repertoire under the direction of its permanent conductor, Andreas Tselikas: Two unique concerts that will convey to the audience the fiery Spanish music with baritone Pablo Gálvez and violinist Christoforos Petridis as soloists, as well as an exciting musical evening titled “Thalassa” with soloist Emmanuelle Bertrand, one of the most important cellists, internationally.
George Petrou conducts the Athens Symphony Orchestra in Anton Bruckner’s magnificent “Fourth Symphony”. On the occasion of Easter, the Athens Symphony Orchestra and Chorus interpret in the context of the Fauré cycle the composer’s emblematic Requiem, with the participation of soprano Vasiliki Karagianni and baritone Pavlos Pantazopoulos, under the Israeli conductor Yuval Zorn.
The Athens Philharmonia Orchestra under Byron Fidetzis continues collaborating with the City Theatre of Athens to present a concert dedicated to great works of the international repertoire that owe their existence to Shakespeare, with soprano Christina Poulitsi.
The City of Athens Greek Music Workshop and its conductor, Angelos Ilias, take a leading role in the tributes to Greek art music, hosting great performers such as Vasilis Lekkas, Kostas Triantafyllidis, Andriana Babali, Thodoris Kotonias, Saveria Margiela, Thodoris Voutsikakis, Vasilis Prodromou, Nikos Plios and Betty Harlaftis. The art music concerts include a unique tribute to Thanos Mikroutsikos with Christos Thivaios and Maria Papageorgiou and the concert of Maria Farantouri with songs from the world theatre in Bertolt Brecht’s poetry.
The Athens Big Band, under Sami Amiri, collaborates with several Greek and foreign artists – Nikos Hadjitsakos, Eleni-Ermina Sofou, Dimitris Tsakas, Dimitris Kalantzis, Athena Routsi, Teri Vakirtzoglou, Philipp Weiss, Irini Konstantinidi, Dimitris Kassavetis, Manos Theodosakis, Marianna Seas, Dat Funk – and invites us to travel to the magical world of jazz, but also to an exciting concert dedicated to flamenco with the international saxophonist and arranger Bernard van Rossum for the first time in Greece.
Stavros Beris will conduct a special concert featuring traditional European songs and a tribute to the vibrant African musical tradition presented by the City of Athens Choir.
Soprano Julie Fuchs and pianist Alphonse Cemin are paying tribute to the works of composer Fauré following their performances of the Requiem and Penelope in the Fauré cycle.
One event that should definitely be on your cultural agenda for the upcoming season is the appearance of Jo Nesbo in Athens. The City of Athens has partnered with OPANDA, Metaichmio Publications, and the Norwegian Embassy in Athens to bring the renowned author to Olympia.
The Theatre’s young audience will enjoy next season the original musical performance STILL! by Stavros Stavrou, Thodoris Economou, Kostas Sylvestrou and Panagiotis Tofi, which was presented for the first time in November 2021 in Nicosia as part of the Nicosia International Festival, receiving excellent reviews, and has already toured in countries such as Armenia, Tunisia and Lithuania.
The Olympia Theatre will also host a music event with the participation of the singer Thanasis Voutsas, the proceeds of which will be donated to the charitable work of the non-profit organization “Panos & Cressida 4 Life” to support its activities, as well as the screening of Fritz Lang’s classic film “Metropolis” accompanied by live music, in collaboration with the Greek Film Archive and the participation of Babylon Orchester Berlin, under Stefanos Tsialis.
The Choir and Mandolinata of Exarchia-Neapolis “Dionysios Lavraga” and Athenian Estudiantina will pay homage to the tango music created by Greek composers through a performance that includes music and dance.
In 2024, Olympia will host the ¡Viva España! Program, a series of events dedicated to Spain, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Athens and the Instituto Cervantes. These include, among others, the amazing dance performance “Sonoma”, inspired by Luis Buñuel from the Catalan group La Veronal, which has been invited twice to the famous Cour d’honneur du Palais des Papes of the Avignon Festival and travelled around the world.