A visit to Athens is also an opportunity to take in a performance at a world-class venue; below is a guide to Athens’ top theaters and concert halls.
MEGARON-ATHENS CONCERT HALL
The Megaron-Athens Concert Hall opened its doors in 1991. After initially focusing solely on music, the institution has embraced an increasingly broad spectrum of musical styles and expanded its program to include other art forms and cultural fields, hosting plays, classical and contemporary dance productions, and art exhibitions. The building’s many performance spaces include the Christos Lambrakis Hall, with 1,961 seats, one of the finest concert halls in the world. The Alexandra Trianti Hall, with 1,750 seats, features state-of-the-art lighting and stage elevator equipment, allowing for great creativity in staging.
11.01.2019: Athens State Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein. The Swiss-born Jewish-American maestro conducts the Athens State Orchestra in works by Greek and foreign composers.
01.02.2019 – 04.02.2019: Nederlands Dans Theater I. The contemporary dance ensemble will perform works that include “Walk the Demon” by Marco Goecke.
27.03.2019: Schubert’s “Sonatas” with Elisabeth Leonskaja. This eminent pianist is considered one of the best interpreters of the Viennese romantics.
GREEK NATIONAL OPERA
The country’s first opera house, founded in 1940, first functioned as a division of the National State Theater. In 1944, it became independent and established its base in the Olympia Theater. In March 2017, the opera moved to its new home, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano. The opera’s new, aesthetically pleasing premises feature a grand stage with outstanding acoustics and outfitted with the latest technology, enabling it to host the most ambitious productions.
24.02 and 03, 20, 22, 24.03/2019: Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”. This adaptation by the renowned British director Katie Mitchell focuses on the world of women in the 19th century.
06-21.04.2019: Stravinsky’s ballet triptych “From Russia with Love”. Three leading figures from the world of dance, Daphnis Kokkinos, Marco Goecke and Konstantinos Rigos, create choreographies based on works by Igor Stravinsky.
12-22.05.2019: Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk”. One of the most famous operas of the 20th century, directed by Fanny Ardant.
ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTer
It was shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis’ own wish to create an institution showcasing the different forms of expression central to modern culture, such as music, fine arts, and performance. Inaugurated in December 2010, the impressively futuristic Onassis Cultural Center building is the work of French architectural firm Architecture Studio and features a spectacular 880-seat auditorium, with state-of-the-art facilities. With plenty of other performance and exhibition spaces as well, the OCC happily hosts a range of cultural events.
19.01.2019: “Improv 2” Two performances – one by Zoi Efstathiou and Egil Kalman and another by Giorgos Varoutas, Nikos Sidirokastritis and Ko Ishikawa – explore improvisation.
From 16.01.2019 to 27.01.2019: Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”. The classic Russian work about the management of expectations. Directed by Dimitris Xanthopoulos.
From 06.02.2019 to 10.02.2019: William Forsythe’s “A Quiet Evening of Dance”. The choreographer invites seven dancers to perform a series of short stories without any musical accompaniment.
THE NATIONAL THEATER
The Greek National Theater, founded in 1901, is based in a renaissance-style building designed by German architect Ernst Ziller on Aghiou Konstantinou, near Omonia Square. The building’s façade was based on Hadrian’s Library and the external decoration is particularly lavish. The interior layout follows the Italian tradition and features two galleries and two balconies. In 2009, this landmark building underwent restoration, and the stage and orchestra equipment were upgraded. Artworks of the highest quality, hidden under paint or plaster in every section of the theater, were uncovered. This renovation has created a veritable jewel of a building, with a stunning central stage proscenium, superb murals in the first-floor foyer and a well-appointed event hall, graced with voluminous crystal chandeliers.
Until 24.02.2019: Luigi Pirandello’s “Tonight We Improvise”. The power of an artist’s creation over its creator is showcased in this tragicomedy by the Italian dramatist. Directed by Dimitris Mavrikios.
From 10.03.2019 to 26.05.2019: Molière’s “The Misanthrope”. This play uses its protagonist to expose the eternal hypocrisy of human society. Directed by Yannis Houvardas.
MUNICIPAL THEATER OF PIRAEUS
With its impressive entrance and Corinthian-style columns, this theater constitutes one of Piraeus’ landmarks. Designed by architect Ioannis Lazarimos, with references to Ernst Ziller and the German school, the building is a monumental work of art. Inaugurated in April 1895, it dominated the city’s cultural life until the end of the 20th century. In 2008, restoration and renovation began and uncovered one of the few surviving baroque stages in Europe. The audience is spread across four levels in orchestra stalls and imposing balconies and galleries.
To 27.01.2019: Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”. This drama by the Russian playwright depicts characters subjected to a suffocating everyday reality. Directed by Yiorgos Kimoulis.
From 22.02.2019 to 21.04.2019: Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck”. This unfinished masterpiece of world theater comes to Piraeus under the direction of Katerina Evangelatos, one of the finest of an exciting new generation of theater directors.
From 03.05.2019 to 09.06.2019: Arthur Schnitzler’s “Circle of Love”. Ten very different people embark on a quest for gratification.
Thomas Moschopoulos directs.