For Megaron-The Athens Concert Hall, the next artistic period will be off to a dynamic start, with events that highlight its 30-year long history and its important contribution to the country’s cultural life. Leading artists from Greece and abroad, with brilliant international careers, are participating in next season’s programme, which includes new productions and embraces a wide range of arts. Let’s get here a first taste of the September-December 2021 events that we will enjoy in Megaron’s hospitable venues, and let us meet again in autumn, when the complete annual planning for the artistic period 2021–2022 is expected to be announced.

In September, the new Piano Masters cycle welcomes to Christos Lambrakis Hall three major piano virtuosos: Evgeny Kissin, Martha Argerich and Ivo Pogorelich. The curtain rises on 22/9 with the recital of Evgeny Kissin, a virtuoso who has been a child prodigy and has worked with legendary conductors such as Herbert von Karajan. The cycle continues with Martha Argerich (23/9), one of the most fascinating pianists of our time, who returns to Megaron in collaboration with one of the most sought-after trumpet soloists of his generation, Sergei Nakariakov. They are accompanied by the Manchester Strings ensemble under the direction of Hungarian conductor and violinist Gábor Takács-Nagy. The Piano Masters cycle closes with Ivo Pogorelich (30/9), a virtuoso of strong temperament and exuberant sound, who is particularly fond of the romantic repertoire.

In October, Megaron welcomes four renowned Greek pianists – Janis Vakarelis, Cyprien Katsaris, Achilleas Wastor and George-Emmanuel Lazaridis – who will present, in a recital for 4 pianos (6/10), a panorama of transcriptions of beloved works of the symphonic and operatic repertoire. The four pianists are joined by the Greek National Opera Ballet, which presents the world premiere of Konstantinos Rigos’ choreography on the legendary “Boléro” by Maurice Ravel (a Megaron-GNO collaboration).

World-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim will conduct the Berlin Staatskapelle orchestra in four concerts dedicated to two emblematic figures of German Romanticism, Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann. Orchestral music enthusiasts will enjoy, from 27/10 to 31/10, the four Symphonies by Brahms and the four Symphonies by Schumann. All concerts are sponsored by the AEGEAS – Non-Profit Civil Company for Cultural and Public Benefit Activities.

Standing out among the musical events of the autumn is also the concert tribute to the memory of Christos Lambrakis, with soprano Marlis Petersen, a favourite of the Greek audience, pianist Stephan Matthias Lademann, and the Musicians of the Camerata-Orchestra of The Friends of Music (Armonia Atenea) under Markellos Chryssicos (6/11), in excerpts from Haendel operas and concerto arias by Mozart.

In the context of the Great Performers cycle, Juan de la Rubia, the virtuoso organist of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, appears for the first time in Greece (23/10) with an organ recital. The recital of the distinguished German baritone Matthias Goerne (4/12), accompanied by renowned conductor Christoph Eschenbach on the piano, is also part of the same cycle.

This programme of events includes recitals of both well-known and rising artists in new interesting collaborations: Giorgos Demertzis (20/10), Ex Silentio Early Music Ensemble (9/11), Ionian Festival Ensemble (25/11), Simos Papanas (violin) and Karolos Zouganelis (piano) (8/11), Giannis Tsitselikis (cello) and Apostolos Palios (piano) (24/11), Christos Papageorgiou (piano) and Anastasios Pappas (piano) (1/12), Giorgos Kaloudis (lyra) and Irini Tsirakidou (soprano) (7/12), Nikos Nikopoulos (flute) and Thodoris Tzovanakis (piano) (11/12).

The Opera at the Megaron cycle opens in December (8 & 10/12), with the presentation of “Hope of homeland”, the new lyrical work by George Kouroupos to libretto by Ioulita Iliopoulou, written especially for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution. This is a new production of Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, directed for the stage by Thanos Papakonstantinou and featuring the lyrical singers Tassis Christoyannis, Theodora Baka, Irini Karaianni and Tasos Apostolou. The polyphonic parts are performed by ERT Chorus, while the Athens State Orchestra is conducted by Miltos Logiadis.

In October (7–9/10), the premiere of “The Call of Prometheus”, the new production of Megaron the Athens Concert Hall is scheduled for presentation – a musical historical drama featuring an exceptional cast of Greek actors (Aris Lempesopoulos, Apostolis Totsikas, Dimitris Piatas, a.o.). Christoforos Christofis signs the text and the stage direction, while the music was written by composer Nikos Xanthoulis, who is also conducting the orchestra. The choreography is by Ersi Pitta, and the set designs by Konstantinos Zamanis.

“The ‘School of Delicate Lovers’ is looking for a delicate reader” (12/10) is the title of another new production of Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, in which texts by Rigas Velestinlis, “read” through the poetry of Giorgos Veltsos, are combined with the musical reflections of Giorgos Hadjimichelakis (musical composition).

With the world premiere of the work “Salema Revisited” (new production), the internationally acclaimed Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis celebrates Megaron’s 30th anniversary (16 & 17/10). The work is a journey to the vigour and beat of the dances of Crete, Foniadakis’ place of origin, set to original music by Paris Perysinakis. His companions in this journey are the musicians Giorgos Skordalos, Vangelis Karipis, Petros Varthakouris and Andreas Arvanitis. Lighting design is by Sakis Birbilis, and costume design by Tassos Sofroniou.

The Athens State Orchestra (ASO) and the Hellenic Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) continue their dynamic presence at the Megaron.

In their two appearances at the Megaron (“Return to poetry”, 1 & 2/10), Maria Farantouri and Dimitris Kataleifos present to the public a selection of original Greek poetry works, set to music by Theodorakis, Hadjidakis, Xarchakos, Loizos, Savvopoulos, Mikroutsikos, Papadimitriou etc.

The popular cycle Theatre@Megaron Underground continues with the play “6 times” with leading actress Olia Lazaridou, to stage direction, lighting design and musical supervision by Yorgos Nanouris.

This year, Megaron’s renewed educational activities give to families, children, adults, schools and special audience groups the opportunity to discover its known and hidden aspects, while every weekend, Megaron’s young and old visitors alike can attend programmes that introduce us to the experiential and interdisciplinary relation of music with the other arts.

This Christmas season, like every year until now, a programme of festive events for all ages awaits us. At the same time, the Megaron Podcasts continue with new recordings, thanks to the funding made available by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.