Smiles and comments of good intentions can always be found at the press conferences that announce charity events. The recent press conference held to promote the Actionaid concert, scheduled for March 24 at the National Opera and featuring major Greek interpreters Mario Fragoulis and Elena Kelessidi, was no different in that sense. Nonetheless, the threat of war along with the wind which could be heard howling outside the National Opera’s interview hall both made the atmosphere more humanitarian, as befits such an event. Alexandra Mitsotaki-Gourdain, representative of Actionaid’s Greek branch, wanted to spread some optimism as opposed to the pessimism caused by recent global events. She brought attention to the 19,000 Greeks who are currently financially contributing to 12 different development programs in six Third World countries and she stressed how warmly Greek society has welcomed the cause of Actionaid. «We don’t need to ask artists or institutions for their help, because they come to us of their own accord,» she said. This was also the case for the concert to be held on Monday and which has a very strong cast. The public will have the opportunity to hear soprano Elena Kelessidi, who only returned from New York a couple of days ago, taking a break from her international work schedule. She has just interpreted the role of Mimi in Giacomo Puccini’s «La Boheme» in a Metropolitan Opera production. Mario Fragoulis and the women’s orchestra Feminarte, conducted by violinist Yiannis Georgiadis, will perform with her. The program includes more or less the same compositions usually chosen for charity galas, including some of the most popular arias, Italian canzonets and classic duets from well-known operas and musicals. What is noteworthy is that both artists will appear at the National Opera for the first time. For ticket purchases, visit the National Opera box office, 57 Academias, tel 126.96.36.1995, or Forum International Communications, 439 Mesogeion, Aghia Paraskevi, tel 210.608.0065.