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With this characteristic and powerful title, twelve of the best classical ballet dancers come to Athens to convey their love for their art, through a show of unparalleled skill and beauty. This spring’s major dance event will take place at the Athens Concert Hall for just 4 performances on April 20, 21 and 22. The dancers performing, will be the greatest of two world famous dance companies: Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy and St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre.

Six Couples Performing Pas de Deux (Ballet Duets)

During the rich program, the audience will enjoy pas de deux choreographies from much-loved productions such as those of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, Romeo and Juliet, Carmen, Raymonda, La Bayadere, Legend of Love, Le Corsaire and Scheherazade. Bolshoi dancers include Maria Alexandrova, the bright star of classical ballet according to New York Times, her partner Vladislav Lantradov, known for his amazing performance in ‘The Nutcracker’; Aleksandr Voltskov and soloist Anastasia Goradacheva who has received numerous awards in international dance competitions; while the third couple is Ruslan Skortchkov one of the main Bolshoi soloists and Xenia Zhiganshina who impressed audiences with her portrayal of Giselle. From the St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, the first couple is of first soloists, Philipp Stepin and Yekaterina Osmolkina – the former has won great awards, and the latter has been given the title of ‘The Great Artist of Russia’. The second couple is Konstantin Zverev and Kristina Shapran – the star of St. Petersburg, and lastly Timur Askerov and Oxana Bondareva, who have won first prize at international ballet competitions. All together, the dancers will once again prove the primacy of Russia in classical dance, giving us unique moments of the art of dance.

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Comprising of 3,000 pieces of illustrative paintings and engravings, the Bank of Greece’s vast collection is the source of inspiration for the celebration of its 90th anniversary, which will now be presented to the general public. 160 pieces from the beginning of Modern Greek art to contemporary artworks have been selected from the bank’s collection and will be on exhibit at the Benaki Museum Pireos location. Artists including Lytras, Volanakis, Gyzis, Prekas, Altamouras, Chalepas are some of the notable artists who have been selected to represent Modern Greek painting, engraving and sculpture, from the mid-19th century to today.

Frames Of Reference

Τhe exhibition unfolds along three broad narrative lines: antiquity, everyday life and landscape. These themes have served as an inspiration for the Greek artists as they aided the expression of their personal artistic idiom, highlighted their Greek identity, while simultaneously conveying a message to the public.

The Emergence Of Modern Greek Art Identity

The 16 exhibition halls of the Benaki Museum have been transformed into a warm, cozy and atmospheric space separated by color to indicate the different sections and orient visitors: Olive green for antiquity, burgundy for ethos, and gray for landscapes.
This event runs until 20 May 2018.

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The tragic opera Lucia di Lammermoor, one of the masterpieces of the romantic Bel Canto period, will be in Athens at the new Greek National Opera for eight performances, in a co-production with the Royal Opera House, London, subversively directed and with an excellent cast. Lucia di Lammermoor is one of Donizetti's most performed operas; it was composed at the peak of his fame and is based on Salvatore Cammarano's libretti, which was an adaptation of the Scottish historical novel "The Bride of Lammermoor" by author Sir Walter Scott.

The Plot and the Director Katie Mitchell’s Point of View

Scott's Lucia is a romantic, emotionally weak girl who despite this is vigorous in her resist when put between the long-standing feud of her family, and her beloved’s family. Through the actions and views of the protagonist, the story offers particular insight into the social status of women in the 19th century. Katie Mitchell has been directing operas since 2000, at some of the world's leading opera houses; she has already received popular acclaim from Greek audiences for her direction in Strindberg's "Miss Julie", staged at the 2012 Athens Festival. In this Lammermoor, Mitchell’s interesting and genuine “voice,” sheds light on the snapshots of female life, while creating an air and style similar to Emily and Charlotte Bronte.

The Cast

The particularly demanding lead role, which was once performed by Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, will be performed by Christina Poulitsi and Vasiliki Karayianni. The production will be conducted by Giorgos Petrou, together with the Greek National Opera’s current Artistic Director, Zoi Tsokanou. Premiere: March 14, 2018. Performances: March 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 28, 2018.

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The Magic Flute is one of the most interesting operas in history, which captures Mozart's genius and his creative coexistence with the writer of the libretto, his friend, and singer, Schikaneder. Performed at the new location of the Greek National Opera, in an impressive production by Komishe Oper Berlin, the opera is expected to fascinate audiences by the production's sheer imagination, light directing, and emphasis on highlighting the content and its meaning; as well as the precision with which the artists perform, and all of the presentational elements needed for an impressive spectacle.

The Opera, Music, and Writing

Good and evil, their disguises, first impressions and the subsequent revelations, the power of love, the dark and the bright side of our personalities and actions, are all major themes in The Magic Flute, which still remains a difficult to interpret work; however, the result is delightful. Mozart uses different music genres – lyrical arias, coloratura arias, dramatic recitatives, ritual music, choral, Italian musical opera – which tie the meaning of the opera, that feels much like a fairytale, and imply a path to ultimate happiness, as perceived by Mozart and Schikaneder.

The Cast

The Magic Flute is directed by Barrie Kosky, the Australian artistic director of the Komische Oper Berlin. Working with the British "1927" theatre company, Kosky used animation to produce opera in an experimental style, while preserving its essential ingredients: fairytale, joy, inventive turns, contrast, and optimism. There are distinctive references ranging from Buster Keaton and silent films, to Louise Brooks and Terry Gilliam. Christina Poulitsi, Vasiliki Karayanni and Dimitra Kotidou play the Queen of the Night; Zoi Tsokanou and Giorgos Balatsinos are the conductors.

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The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will perform for the first time at the Athens Concert Hall, with two acclaimed and award winning piano soloists, Khatia Buniatishvili and George-Emmanuel Lazaridis. The performance of these two piano virtuosos is considered a major musical event in the world of classical music, while the works that will be presented are extremely appealing to the general public.

The Orchestra

The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra has been active for 80 years and has had a continuous artistic career with classical music performances from romantic to contemporary compositions, while its collaborations have been with the world’s greatest conductors. This exceptional event at the Athens Concert Hall is particularly satisfying for classical music connoisseurs globally.

Khatia Buniatishvili

Superstar pianist Buniatishvili enchants her audiences with effortless performances, characteristic ease and beautiful appearance. With her mother as a teacher, Buniatishvili began playing the piano when she was 3 years old, and gave her first piano recital - alongside with her sister who is also a talented pianist – at just 6 years of age. By the age of 10, Buniatishvili had already performed in Europe and the USA. Born in Georgia, she graduated from the Tbilisi Central Music School; in 2006 she completed her piano studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna with Oleg Maizenberg as her professor. Buniatishvili made her debut as a professional in 2008 at Carnegie Hall, and has literally performed all over the world. She has an exclusive cooperation with SONY Classical and has received some of the world’s most prestigious classical music awards. Buniatishvili speaks 5 languages fluently including Georgian, French, German, English, and Russian.

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis

Born in Thessaloniki in 1978, pianist and composer George-Emmanuel Lazaridis studied piano on scholarship from the Onassis, Leventi, Hattori and Queen Elizabeth II foundations. During the 25 years of his professional career, Lazaridis has performed at music centers all over the world including Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Wiener Musikverein, as well as dozens of international festivals, accompanied by top philharmonic orchestras and exceptional conductors. Lazaridis has delivered countless seminars at renowned music universities, while – according to the most prestigious music magazines – his recordings are considered among the best of all time. His compositional work includes choral, dance and theatrical music, and he has been the Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall since 2010.

The two pianists will perform Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Berlioz, Ravel, and Frank on March 7th and 8th.

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