Onassis Cultural Center looks ahead

The Onassis Cultural Center?s program for the 2011-12 season was unveiled at the institution?s premises on Monday, May 30. Based on the same cultural axis as the center?s inaugural program, the new program aims to attract a broader local audience.

According to Antonis Papadimitriou, president of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the center?s cultural agenda revolves around the following key issues: the search for a Greek identity in the visual arts, establishing the country on the international cultural scene, and making culture attractive to younger audiences. The center?s director, Christos Carras, noted that after a running a successful six-month events calendar, the institution has now laid the foundations for even more collaborations and the possibility of exporting its own productions.

On the theater front, next season?s program is largely based on Greek literature. Thodoris Abatzis and the Opera Company are working on an adaptation of Alexandros Papadiamantis?s novel ?Merchants of Nations,? while another local company, Pequod, is working on an adaptation of ?The Double Book? by Dimitris Hatzis. Meanwhile, director Angela Brouskou is adapting Margarita Karapanou?s diaries for the stage, while French-Canadian Robert Lepage will make his Greek debut with an original contemporary production, ?The Far Side of the Moon.? The Vietnam New Circus, whose influences include Soviet and French theater, will present ?Lang Toi? (My Village), a family-oriented performance.

In the music department, emphasis will be placed on combinations of tradition and contemporary works. Collaborations with the Orchestra of Colors and the Camerata orchestra will continue, while the center is planning to host the Istanbul Modern Music Ensemble. There will be tributes to composers Iannis Xenakis and Giorgos Koumentakis and a noteworthy appearance by the internationally acclaimed Diotima Quartet. The new season will also observe the debut of a new series, ?Greek Jazz Panorama,? with guests including Dave Holland and Vassilis Tsabropoulos — the latter will be joining forces with the Camerata.

The acclaimed dance troupe DV8?s interpretation of a new work — ?Can We Talk About This?? — is one of the highlights in the program?s dance section. Another is the Aerites Dance Company and choreographer Patricia Apergi presenting ?Era poVera,? which focuses on the idea of survival in the contemporary urban landscape. Meanwhile, the Rosas dance company will present ?En attendant,? a production based on 14th-century polyphonic music. In March next year, the cultural center will host Meetings Points 6, an international festival dedicated to Arab culture. Tunisian director Fadhel Jaibi, renowned Palestinian visual artist Mona Hatoum, Lebanese musician Tarek Atoui and groundbreaking Syrian writer Omar Abu Saada are all expected to visit Athens as festival guests. In the visual arts department, the center is organizing the first solo exhibition in Greece of works by renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

The 2011-12 season will also include four lecture cycles making up the ?Talks and Thoughts? series. On the agenda are lectures on biographical and autobiographical literature, history, migration and the notion of private versus public on the Internet.

Onassis Cultural Center, 107-109 Syngrou, Athens, tel 210.900.5800,, e-mail [email protected]

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