For the Orchestra of Colors, the new year started calmly, but with a feeling of «restless optimism.» This year’s program, which includes the presentation of the «Opera of the Earth» at Olympia on July 25 and 26, is greatly influenced by the preparations for the Olympic Games, as Giorgos Kouroupos, the orchestra’s artistic director, pointed out at a recent press conference. Two further events, part of Athens 2004’s cultural program, are to be announced soon. As for the rest of the program, the orchestra will brighten the atmosphere at the «Music and Cinema» series held at the Trianon Filmcenter with the collaboration of the Greek Film Center, and will also participate in the «Music and Literature» series of events, held at the Melina Mercouri Foundation. Even the orchestra’s annual big event, which is dedicated to a contemporary composer, will this year present composers from the «new countries» of the EU, namely Estonian Arvo Part, Pole Henryk Gorecki and Hungarian Gyorgy Kurtag, among others, who Greek audiences will be hearing live for the first time. The Greek composer whose work the orchestra will play at that same concert is Michalis Lapidakis, a restless and daring musician whose concerto for violin, piano and orchestra was commissioned by the Orchestra of Colors, said Kouroupos. The next big concert that the orchestra will give at the Athens Concert Hall will be solely dedicated to Russian music; the orchestra will interpret works by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, together with Italian pianist Marisa Tanzini. Finally, a special event will take place at the Herod Atticus Theater, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Manos Hadjidakis’s death. The date has yet to be announced. It should also be noted that a new society, the Friends of the Orchestra of Colors, was recently founded, which Kouroupos described as a token of the public’s recognition and a source of psychological support, which the orchestra needed in order to carry on. The «Tuesday the Thirteenth» series of events at the Trianon Filmcenter, in which screenings are preceded by live music, is a joint production with the Orchestra of Colors. The program until the beginning of March is as follows: On January 27, there will be Alain Resnais’s «On Connait La Chanson» (Same Old Song), with postwar French songs sung by Melina Tanagri, and on February 3, Sam Wood’s «A Night at the Opera» will be screened, with extracts from comic operas and operettas. Jacques Tati’s «Jour de Fete» (Holiday) will follow on February 10, with more postwar French songs, and Woody Allen’s «Manhattan» on February 17, with compositions by George Gershwin. On February 24, there will be Orson Welles’s «Falstaff» and arias inspired by the character, and on March 3, Buster Keaton’s «The General» will be screened – featuring Dixieland music by saxophonist Dimitris Vassilakis and his ensemble. The «Music and Literature» series of events, which the Orchestra of Colors also takes part in and which is organized by Ioulita Iliopoulou, will start on Monday, January 26, with Thomas Mann’s «Tonio Kroeger,» accompanied by Schubert compositions. The events will take place every Monday at the Melina Mercouri Foundation.