CULTURE

Agnes Baltsa returns to Athens for charity concert

Following a long absence from local stages, the world-renowned Greek mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa will perform a charity show at the Athens Concert Hall this Sunday night. All proceeds from the concert, for which a limited number of tickets are still available, will go to MDA Hellas, a support group for individuals suffering from muscular dystrophy, a neuromuscular disorder. Baltsa, accompanied by the Athens State Orchestra with Nikos Athinaios at the podium, will interpret works by several composers, including Bizet, Berlioz, and Verdi. Born on the Greek island of Lefkada, Baltsa, who moved to Athens in her teens and graduated from the National Conservatory before pursuing her studies further in Munich under a Maria Callas scholarship, began to emerge internationally three decades ago. After debuting in Frankfurt, Baltsa began receiving offers from various renowned opera houses including those of Berlin, Milan, London, and New York. The mezzo-soprano has been a pivotal member of the Vienna State Opera since 1980 and became an honorary member of the opera house in 1988. Contrary to her regular performances, mostly abroad, Baltsa has been less prolific as a recording artist. Her most recent release, a series of opera duets with Jose Carreras, dates back to 1991. Sunday’s beneficiary, MDA Hellas, is one of 185 syndicated associations worldwide. After setting up its first unit for neuromuscular disorders at the Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, the association’s local branch intends to inject the funds raised from Sunday’s event into a second specialized unit. In Greece, it is estimated that one in every 3,000 children are born with muscular dystrophy. Since its establishment three years ago, MDA Hellas, which has benefited from charity concerts in the past, has striven to improve the living standards of muscular dystrophy patients. Current objectives include the continued promotion of scientific research for improved prognosis and diagnosis, maintenance of a public awareness campaign, and the establishment of more specialized units in hospitals and clinics. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias. Tel. 210.728.2150.

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