Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, celebrating the completion of its third decade of active presence in the Greek and international cultural scene, continues its course with the 2021–2022 season, presenting a programme characterised by diversity and the desire for Megaron’s halls to host new productions, great orchestras and major Greek and foreign soloists, to promote contemporary music and to offer spectators of all ages the opportunity to immerse themselves into unique cultural experiences in its premises.
This season, Megaron presents two new event cycles: Piano Masters, with the participation of three of the piano firmament’s brightest stars –Evgeny Kissin, Khatia Buniatishvili, Ivo Pogorelich– and the Megaron Spring Festival, a spring celebration of music and dance featuring the famous Martha Graham Dance Company, along with internationally renowned soloists and ensembles, such as violinist Yury Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists, pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, the Percussions de Strasbourg percussion ensemble, and two piano virtuosos from Russia – the acclaimed Grigory Sokolov and the rising Alexandra Dovgan.
This year’s new productions include two new works commissioned by Megaron: George Kouroupos’ new opera “Hope of homeland”, set to a libretto by Ioulita Iliopoulou, written for the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, and the musical historical drama “The Call of Prometheus – 1821”, to text and stage direction by Christoforos Christofis and musical composition and direction by Nikos Xanthoulis, with an all-star cast including Giorgos Christodoulou, Maximos Moumouris and Dimitris Piatas.
Friends of dance will have the opportunity to attend the world premiere of “Salema Revisited”, a work with which internationally acclaimed Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis celebrates Megaron’s 30th anniversary, while Alexandra Trianti Hall will host the Nederlands Dans Theater, the contemporary dance group from the Netherlands that has opened up new paths in artistic expression through dance and is a favourite of the Greek public, which returns to Megaron with two new choreographies.
In the popular Great Orchestras–Great Soloists cycle, legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim directs the Berlin Staatskapelle in four concerts. During the 2021-2022 artistic period, Megaron will also host the Lucerne Festival Strings with the famous violinist Midori, as well as the London Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Finnish conductor Sanntu-Matias Rouvali, with South Korean Seong-Jin Cho, one of the most awarded young pianists, as soloist.
Standing out in the Great Soloists cycle are the concerts of soprano Marlis Petersen, a favourite of Greek audiences, of acclaimed German baritone Matthias Goerne, accompanied by the famous pianist Christoph Eschenbach, but also of two distinguished lyrical artists –Greek baritone Dimitris Platanias and soprano Dinara Alieva, in a special gala with the Athens State Orchestra. Part of the same cycle are also the first-ever appearances in Greece of the leading Spanish organist Juan de la Rubia and the Emerson Quartet, holder of numerous awards and central to the chamber music stage for 40 years now, as well as the recitals of two internationally acclaimed pianists with a long presence in the world’s major concert halls – Maria João Pires and Mitsuko Uchida.
As for Greek poetry and music, they find their best expression in the voices of two exceptional performers, Maria Farantouri and Dimitris Katalifos, who pay tribute to the recently departed Mikis Theodorakis with the musical performance “Come back to poetry”, dedicated to the great Greek composer.
World-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim directs the Berlin Staatskapelle in four concerts that focus on two emblematic personalities of German Romanticism – Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann. From 27to 31/10/2021 , the friends of orchestral music will enjoy the four Symphonies by Brahms and the four Symphonies by Schumann. The concerts of the German ensemble at Megaron are sponsored by AEGEAS Non-Profit Civil Company.
The Great Orchestras cycle continues in February (20/2/2022) with the Lucerne Festival Strings, a renowned ensemble that is a worthy representative of Switzerland in the world’s musical scenes. The guest soloist in this concert is one of the greatest violinists of our era, Midori, who first demonstrated her great talent when she was just 11 years old and who continues to excel in her international career for the last four decades.
The epilogue (7/5/2022) belongs to Philharmonia Orchestra and its principal conductor, the Finn Sanntu Matias Rouvali, a strongly idiosyncratic maestro famous for his passionate interpretations. They are joined on the stage by the South Korean Seong-Jin Cho, a pianist of steely technique and spectacular expressiveness, who is enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike, wherever he appears.
In September, the new Piano Masters cycle welcomes at the Christos Lambrakis Hall three leading piano virtuosos – Evgeny Kissin, Khatia Buniatishvili and Ivo Pogorelich. The curtain rises on 24/9/2021 with the recital of E. Kissin, a virtuoso who had been a child prodigy and had worked in the past with legendary conductors such as Herbert von Karajan. The cycle continues with K. Buniatishvili (26/9/2021), one of the brightest stars on the piano firmament internationally, and concludes on 30/9/2021 with I. Pogorelich, famous for his strongly idiosyncratic and exuberant sound, who is particularly fond of the romantic repertoire.
On 6/10/2021, Megaron welcomes four famous Greek soloists – Janis Vakarelis, Cyprien Katsaris, Achilles Wastor and George-Emmanuel Lazaridis, who will present, in a recital for 4 pianos, a panorama of transcriptions of favourite works of the symphonic and operatic repertoire. The four pianists are joined on the stage by the Greek National Opera Ballet, which presents the world premiere of Konstantinos Rigos’ choreography of the legendary Boléro by Μaurice Ravel (a collaboration of Megaron with the Green National Opera).
The Great Soloists cycle also welcomes Juan de la Rubia, the Spanish virtuoso organist of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, in his first appearance in Greece (23/10/2021), in a long-awaited recital whose programme is dominated by compositions of two pre-eminent representatives of the German and French organ tradition: Johann Sebastian Bach and César Franck.
In November (6/11/2021), Megaron welcomes our beloved Marlis Petersen, pianist Matthias Lademann and the Musicians of the Camerata – The Friends of Music Orchestra under the baton of Markellos Chryssikopoulos, in a concert dedicated to Christos Lambrakis, featuring excerpts from operas by Haendel and concerto arias by Mozart.
Sponsor: World in Harmony.
One month later (4/12/2021), distinguished baritone Matthias Goerne, world-renowned for his sensitive interpretations of German vocal chamber music, gives a recital at Megaron, accompanied by the famous conductor Christoph Eschenbach at the piano, presenting Franz Schubert’s masterful “Winterreise” (“Winter’s journey”) song cycle.
The cycle’s first recital in the New Year, on 12/1/2022, is of pianist Maria João Pires, a performer whose activities, both artistic and educational, are dedicated to seeking affinities between life and art, society and education. A generous artist, committed to supporting the young generation of musicians.
In March, the Great Soloists cycle is dedicated to opera and chamber music. On 3/3/2022, two internationally acclaimed lyrical singers, baritone Dimitris Platanias, with a long and successful career in lyrical theatres abroad, and soprano Dinara Alieva, known to the Greek public from the Gala tribute to Maria Callas, which she had presented at Megaron in 2017, sing favourite arias of the operatic repertoire.
On 8/3/2022 the Εmerson Quartet, holding numerous awards, among which 9 GRAMMY® Awards, and with a discography of 30 individual releases, visits the Christos Lambrakis Hall to introduce us to their magical sound, which has been fascinating audiences all over the world for more than four decades.
This season’s concerts of the Great Soloists cycle conclude on 24/5/2022 with the recital of Mitsuko Uchida, one of the most ideal contemporary interpreters of works by Mozart and Schubert, who has garnered numerous international awards and distinctions for her artistic achievements as well as for her significant educational activity.
MEGARON SPRING FESTIVAL
Megaron the Athens Concert Hall brings spring to the arts, presenting –for the first time in its 30-year long history– Megaron Spring Festival, a spring artistic event that runs for approximately two weeks and features internationally renowned pianists and musical ensembles, as well as the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Events open on 29/3/2022 with Yuri Bashmet, one of world’s best viola soloists, who appears at the Christos Lambrakis Hall –which he had himself inaugurated 30 years ago–, accompanied by the Moscow Soloists. He is followed on 31/3/2022 by two grand ladies of the piano, Katia and Marielle Labèque and, on 10/4/2022, by the Percussions de Strasbourg ensemble, in a tribute to the centenary of Ianis Xenakis’ birth. On 14/4/2022, the stage of the Christos Lambrakis Hall is taken by the leading Russian piano virtuoso Grigory Sokolov, after whom the baton is taken on 15/4/2022 by the rising –and also Russian– pianist Alexandra Dovgan, who has swept the awards at many international competitions. On that same night (15/4/2022), the curtain rises for the performances of Martha Graham Dance Company, the historical group created by the contemporary dance priestess, which are scheduled to end on 17/4/2022, signalling the conclusion of the Megaron Spring Festival.
GREEK REVOLUTION BICENTENNIAL
October (7, 8, 9/10/2021) sees the world premiere of “The call of Prometheus – 1821”, the new production commissioned by Megaron, a musical historical drama with an all-star Greek cast. The texts and stage direction are by Christoforos Christofis, while the music was written by composer Nikos Xanthoulis, who is also responsible for the musical direction. Choreography is by Ersi Pitta, set design by Konstantinos Zamanis, costume design by Erietta Vordoni, and lighting design by Antonis Panagiotopoulos. Cast (in order of appearance): Giorgos Christodoulou (Goethe), Stathis Koikas (Mephisto), Spyros Stamoulis (Lord Byron), Alberto Fais (Unkown Man), Panagiotis Georgoulas (Xanthos), Maximos Moumouris (Kapodistrias). In the role of Napoleon, Dimitris Piatas. Dancers: Elissavet Delaka, Dimitra Kokkori, Aspasia Lemou. Song: Theodora Baka.
‘The “School for delicate lovers” is looking for a delicate reader’ (12/10/2021) is the title of yet another new production of Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, which combines texts by Rigas Velestinlis, “read” by the poetry of Yiorgos Veltsos and
reflected upon by the music of Giorgos Chatzimichelakis (musical composition).
Standing out from the concerts of the Athens State Orchestra co-produced with Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, is the one titled “Greek Revolution – Saint-Saëns Year”, which features internationally renowned pianist Cyprien Katsaris, with Belarusian conductor Vyacheslav Volich at the podium (15/10/2021).
Finally, December (8 & 10/12/2021) sees the premiere at Megaron of George Kouroupos’ new opera “Hope of homeland”, set to a libretto by Ioulita Iliopoulou, commissioned by Megaron the Athens Concert Hall to the composer and written for the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution. This is a new Megaron production directed for the stage by Thanos Papakonstantinou, whose cast includes lyrical singers Tassis Christoyannis, Theodora Baka, Irini Karaianni, Artemis Bogri, Vassilis Kavayas, and Michalis Psyrras . The polyphonic parts are sung by the
Greek Radio and Television (ERT) Chorus, with Miltos Logiadis conducting the Athens State Orchestra. Set and costume design is by Niki Psychogiou, and lighting design by Christina Thanasoula.
With the world premiere of “Salema Revisited” (new production), internationally acclaimed Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis celebrates Megaron’s 30th anniversary (16 & 17/10/2021). The work is a journey to the vigour and vibrancy of the dances of Crete, Foniadakis’ native island, set to original music by Paris Perisinakis. His companions in this journey are the musicians Giorgos Skordalos, Vangelis Karipis, Petros Varthakouris and Giorgos Makris. Lighting design is by Sakis Birbilis, and costume design by Anastasios Sofroniou. The internationally acclaimed Greek choreographer is supported by the Katradis Group of Companies .
Νederlands Dans Theater, one of the most emblematic contemporary dance groups, returns for four performances in the Alexandra Trianti Hall (10–13/3/2022), with two new choreographies –along with an older one by Jiří Kylián– that will definitely be discussed.
MUSIC & POETRY
Two exceptional performers, Maria Farantouri and Dimitris Katalifos, in their two appearances at Megaron, with the title “Come back to poetry” – A musical performance dedicated to Mikis Theodorakis (1 & 2/10/2021), offer an anthology of Greek poetry in its original form and set to music by Theodorakis, Hadjidakis, Xarchakos, Loizos, Savvopoulos, Mikroutsikos, Papadimitriou and other Greek composers. With the participation of Vasilis Gisdakis and musicians Takis Farazis (orchestrations, piano), David Lynch (saxophone, flute), Iraklis Zakkas (bouzouki, mandolin), Michalis Porfyris (cello).
On the occasion of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution in 2021, the Ex Silentio early music ensemble, specialising in musical subject of historical interest, presents a review of relations between Greece and the West during the Renaissance (9/11/2021). This time, in their concert “Greece in the Renaissance”, they invite us to listen to secular and religious music of the 15th and 16th centuries, written by Greek composers of that period, as well as by Westerners who lived in Crete, Cyprus and elsewhere. Musicians: Fanie Antonelou, Theodora Baka, Nikos Ziaziaris (song), Flora Papadopoulou (gothic & renaissance harp), Dimitris Kountouras (medieval flutes & musical direction), Antonios Aetopoulos (cantor ). Guest participant: cantor Charalambos Ribas.
This series consists of recitals by well-known and rising artists in new, interesting partnerships: Simos Papanas (violin) and Karolos Zouganelis (piano) (8/11/2021), Yannis Tsitselikis (cello) and Apostolos Palios (piano) (22/11/2021), Christos Papageorgiou (piano) and Anastasios Pappas (piano) (1/12/2021), Giorgos Kaloudis (Cretan lyra) and Eirini Tsirakidou (mezzosoprano[IG6] ) (7/12/2021), Nikos Nikopoulos (flute) and Theodore Tzovanakis (piano) (11/12/2021).
The popular Theatre@Megaron Underground cycle continues with the play “Six times” (9–31/10/2021), starring Olia Lazaridou in six different roles, to stage direction, lighting and musical supervision by Yorgos Nanouris.
On 4/12/2021, the play “Civil epics” by Phaidon Chatziantoniou (co-produced with the FARIS Municipal and Regional Theatre of Kalamata) is presented, directed by Yannis Margaritis, with music by Dimitris Ikonomakis and set and costume design supervision by Eleni Manolopoulou. The roles are played by Chryssanthi Douzi. She is accompanied on the stage by the musician Dimitris Bakeas (wind instruments, percussion). The protagonists of this play, which holds a mirror up to the face of Greece, are historical figures who played a key role in the civil conflicts that arose within the Greek territory from antiquity to the 20th century.
From 17/1/2022 to 6/2/2022, “The Courtyard of Miracles” will be staged in the Alexandra Trianti Hall, directed by Christos Sougaris and set to music by Stefanos Korkolis. The well-known play by Iakovos Kampanellis is presented in the format of a musical, with a cast featuring singer Glykeria in the role of Asta, in her first appearance on the stage, Mary Chronopoulou (Mary), Roula Pateraki (Anneto), Ilias Logothetis (Iordanis), Giorgos Gallos (Stelios), Vasilis Bisbikis (Babis), Katerina Papoutsaki (Olga), Kora Karvouni (Maria), Maria Diakopanagiotou (Dora), Mariza Tsari (Maria), Giorgos Tsiantoulas (Stratos), Alexandros Varthis (Giannis), Kostas Laskos (Man) and Sotiria Rouvoli (Woman). The sets and costumes are designed by Eleni Manolopoulou and lighting design is by Alekos Anastasiou.
A coproduction of Lykofos Non-Profit Civil Company and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
CHRISTMAS AT MEGARON
This Christmas, as every year, a rich programme of festive events for all ages awaits us at Megaron!
The festive season kicks off with Elias Karellas’ shadow puppet theatre company and its new production “The Christmas of Karagiozis at La Scala in Milan” (18 – 30/12/2021 ). In this brand-new musical comedy, the children’s beloved hero and his friends are busy with feverish preparations for the Christmas Gala of the famous lyrical theatre, but the Christmas Goblin has turned things upside down.
A co-production of Elias Karellas’ Shadow Puppet Theatre Company and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
Of course, no Christmas programme of Megaron would be complete without The Nutcracker, a sumptuous ballet production for the whole family, based on the magnificent music of μια Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. A favourite of audiences worldwide, the ballet, choreographed by the great Yury Grigorovich, is screened at Megaron as part of the popular satellite broadcast series The Bolshoi Ballet Live (19/12/2021), in collaboration with Pathé Live.
On 22/12/2021, ΜΕΙΖΟΝ Ensemble, the polyphonic ensemble that caused a sensation last March, with its moving interpretation of a rare version of the “Hymn to Liberty” set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, returns to Megaron to present a programme of Christmas works for male chorus.
Two days before Christmas (23/12/2021), Megaron’s organist Ourania Gassiou, faithful to her appointment with the music-loving public, gives her annual festive recital at the Christos Lambrakis Hall, presenting a programme structured around the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The distinguished soloist will also perform works by later composers.
The festive journey continues with the presentation, for the first time in Greece, of the adaptation for the stage of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” – one of the all-time Hollywood Christmas classics (23/12/2021 – 5/1/2022). The Alexandra Trianti Hall is transformed into a live radio-and-television studio of the 1940s, in which seven actors and a jazz big band bring to life the film’s plot. Cast: Konstantinos Markoulakis, Nadia Kontogeorgi, Nikos Psarras, Angelos Bouras[, Theodosia Savvaki. Translation by Nikos Chatzopoulos. Stage direction by Giannis Kalavrianos. Set designs by Giorgos Gavalas, costumes by Vana Giannoula and lighting by Simos Sarketzis. The cast is accompanied by the Athens Collective Orchestra. Original music, orchestration and musical direction by Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis.
A co-production of Lykofos Non-Profit Civil Company and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
As for its New Year’s Opera Gala at Megaron, the Athens State Orchestra plays excerpts from popular operas and accompanies, in scintillating areas, four acclaimed Greek lyrical singers: soprano Myrto Papathanasiou, mezzo-soprano Marisia Papalexiou, tenor Mario Zeffiri and baritone Dimitris Tiliakos. At the podium is Byron Fidetzis.
CONTEMPORARY GREEK COMPOSERS
For three decades , Megaron is promoting contemporary Greek musical creation. This year, it offers the public the rare opportunity to enjoy works by major Greek composers of our times, in a concert at the Christos Lambrakis Hall (24/3/2022). The programme consists of the Concerto for piano no. 4 by Giorgos Koumentakis, with George-Emmanuel Lazaridis as soloist, and the Concerto for cello by Christos Samaras, with Renato Ripo in the soloist parts. They are accompanied by the Greek Radio Sympony Orchestra.
The “Repatriation of the Diaspora” is a joint project of Ergon Ensemble and Megaron, whose aim is to acquaint the public with Greek composers of contemporary music or Greek composers active outside Greece. This year, the ever-active instrumental ensemble presents four chamber music works of Greek composers who were or are based in Paris, such as Aperghis, Xenakis, Sakagian and Tzortzis (19/10/2021).
Part of the same series of events is also the concert of the Ionian Festival Ensemble (25/11/2021), whose significant artistic activity focuses on the contemporary repertoire. The evening’s programme features works by representative composers of the 20th century, among which Stravinsky, Berio and Boulez, as well as by contemporary Greek and foreign women composers, such as Julia Wolfe and Calliope Tsoupaki.
Enriched and renewed, BRIDGES (artistic coordination & planning: Dimitris Marangopoulos) continue their journey in this new season, crossing the boundaries of musical cultures, arts and technology.
Starting in November, Open Platforms, in dynamic synergy with EDEM (the Music Works Rightholders’ Cooperative), welcome at online and live events Greek and foreign artists living in Greece and Greek artists living abroad, while the Animegaron International Composition Competition, in collaboration with the Animasyros International Animated Film Festival & Agora, announces the Competition’s animation film.
Lovers of world music, too, will not be left complaining. In February, they will enjoy at Megaron Orchestra Baobab (28/2/2022), a historic Senegalese band that will take us on a journey to the rhythms of Cuba and the music of West Africa.
A co-production of HUB EVENTS and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES – MEGARON FOR KIDS
This artistic season, Megaron’s renewed educational activities offer to families, children, adults, schools and special audience groups the opportunity to discover its known and hidden aspects, while every weekend, children and adults alike can attend programmes that introduce us to the experiential and interdisciplinary relation of music with the other arts.
As for Megaron for Kids, the favourite series of events for the entire family, it hosts the 4th edition (13–21/11/2021) of the Athens International Children’s Film Festival, addressed to children and young people up to 18 years old.
Event organisation: Athens International Children’s Film Festival Non-Profit Civil Company
A co-production of Μegaron the Athens Concert Hall.
With the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
For information and programme details, visit www.athicff.com.
ALSO AT MEGARON …
The Athens State Orchestra, the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO), and the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) will be present again this year with their concerts.
GYSO, the youth symphony orchestra in residence at Megaron, whose musicians have already presented excellent samples of their talent both in Greece and abroad, appears on 13/12/2021 at the Christos Lambrakis Hall, under the baton of its principal conductor and artistic director Dionysis Grammenos, performing some of the most beautiful works of the Russian symphonic repertoire. The evening’s soloists will be pianist Anna Fedorova and violinist Giorgos Banos.
On 20/10/2021, the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra, an ensemble that appears regularly at Megaron, will acquaint the public with rare masterpieces of the broader European repertoire. On the podium will be Byron Fidetzis, a conductor committed, for decades, to highlighting hidden or even unknown aspects of Greek and international musical creation. The soloist in Korngold’s seductive Violin concerto will be the distinguished violinist Giorgos Demertzis.
A co-production of APO and Megaron the Athens Concert Hall.
All events will be held with due observance of all applicable public health protection measures.
For details, see here