CULTURE

Music, lights usher in New Year

A full program for kids has been put together in Athens this year, with City Hall offering a plethora of events, all open to the public. The New Year’s celebrations will culminate tonight at Syntagma Square, with a celebratory concert by acclaimed singers Alkistis Protopsalti and tenor Mario Frangoulis in solos and duets. The highlight will be Frangoulis performing, for the first time, a new symphonic piece, «Olympion,» by Dimitris Papadimitirou set to an ode by Pindar. On a more exotic note, and adding to the multiethnic flavor the Athens Municipality’s festivities have aimed for this year, the music events will be further enriched by the Bregovic Brass Ensemble in boisterous Balkan tunes and the Gipsy Kings, who hail from the Gypsy settlements of Arles and Montpellier in southern France, and who will strum out passionate rumba and flamenco melodies. At the stroke of midnight, the skies of Athens will light up in a multimedia show directed by Alberto Navarro – who has worked with Walt Disney Creative Entertainment – with the participation of Papadimitriou, featuring fireworks and laser lights dancing along to the composer’s score, which he penned especially for the event. Meanwhile, Kotzia Square will continue its daily events today with a musical show, starting at 1 p.m., titled «A Thousand and One Nights,» featuring Eastern melodies, while Zappeion will continue to host its fun educational events daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. until January 4. Here children can learn all about drawing and handicrafts in Santa’s Workshop, or act and watch plays at the Christmas Curtain. They can even learn to juggle in the Clown School, try their hand at face painting, or sit quietly and watch a number of street theater performances. City Hall is also presenting a special computer program at Zappeion that allows children with hearing impediments to listen to fairy tales. Computers also feature in a program titled «Creating with Microsoft,» which helps kids understand the world of computers in a specially designed space. Last, but not least, the X-Box tournament, which has been running since December 20, will end on Saturday with the semifinals, finals and the award-giving ceremony.