The main feature of next season’s events at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall (TCH), presented recently by its artistic director Nikos Athinaios, seems to be mezzo soprano Agnes Baltsa’s performance. Baltsa, who has not taken part in any opera productions in Greece for 10 years, will take on the leading role in Pietro Mascagni’s «Cavalleria Rusticana» on October 25, 29, 31 and November 2. Giancarlo del Monaco, son of the world-famous tenor Mario del Monaco, is the director with Michael Scott as stage designer. The 2003-2004 season of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall includes major personas from the Greek and the international scene. The TCH has announced a 2.5-million-euro budget and is able to cover 40 percent of the program’s costs. Next season’s program starts with an Opera Gala on September 16, dedicated to the memory of Maria Callas, with the participation of mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova and tenor Emil Ivanov. The rest of the program consists of two co-productions with the Athens Concert Hall (a tribute to the Olympic idea and performances by the Black Theater of Prague), as well as music, opera, dance and numerous educational activities, such as performances for schools and events on Sunday mornings, that aim at shaping younger audiences. The program includes modern dance shows by the Gaertnerplatztheater Ballet of the Munich National Theater, with two choreographies by Philip Taylor of Bach’s «Goldberg Variations» and John Adams’s «Fearful Symmetries» in November. Two concerts by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France will also be held, with Korean conductor Myung-Whun Chung and pianist Dimitris Sgouros (only for the second performance), as well as a festive Christmas concert, where soprano Dimitra Theodosiou, mezzo-soprano Mary-Ellen Nezi, tenor Vangelis Hadzisimos and baritone Christophoros Staboglis will interpret Mozart’s «Ninth Symphony.» The «Olympiad in Opera» tribute, held on December 13 by the Virtuosi di Praga, conducted by Nikos Tsouchlos, includes the most important extracts from Pietro Metastasio’s «The Olympiad» (an opera libretto written in the 18th century) that have been set to music. Soprano Isabelle Poulenard and mezzo-soprano Claire Brua will participate, among others. The Black Theater of Prague Ta Fantastika will present its version of «The Magic Flute» during the Christmas season. The following season, January to May 2004, will include a Dance Gala featuring Vladimir Malakhov, the Orchestra of Milan with Ricardo Mutti, the Tango Operetta with Italian singer Milva, as well as «Les Noces de Figaro» and Nikos Kypourgos’s «Kipotheatro,» with the Athens National Orchestra in its first performance at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. Musical Sunday Mornings include «Mozart’s & Haydn’s Vienna» with the Camerata Orchestra conducted by Alexandros Myrat, with cellist Yiannis Tsitselikis. «Jazzologies» will also be presented in November by the Athens Municipality Big Band, conducted by Thanassis Zervas, as well as «The Trout, the Lark and Many Others» with pianist Domna Evnouchidou and double bassist Yiannis Hadzis. The Musical Sunday Mornings gained an overall audience of 2,500 people last year. Finally, the educational activities include a TCH production of musical puppet theater, «The Hunter of Birds,» an opera written for two performers.