CULTURE

Megaron to celebrate 15 years

The Athens Concert Hall (or Megaron as it is known locally), one of the country’s most prestigious cultural establishments, has pulled out all the stops in preparing for its 15th birthday next season with a program rich in events and surprises. «This year we will operate a complete Megaron. The new artistic season is marked not just by celebrations for the Megaron’s 15th birthday, but also by the fact that for the first time, every one of its halls and sections will be open,» said Athens Concert Hall President Christos Lambrakis at a recent press conference presenting the 2005-2006 season program. The stellar lineup of events includes historical productions such as the Piccolo Teatro di Milano’s performance of Mozart’s opera «Cosi Fan Tutte,» and appearances by leading orchestras like the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, great maestros and great soloists, most notably pianists Stevan Kovacevich and Aldo Ciccolini. This coming season, the new Alexandra Triandi Hall will be officially inaugurated in December with a performance of «The Magic Flute,» in celebration of the 250-year anniversary of Mozart’s birth. The Nikos Skalkottas Hall will be used as the permanent headquarters of the Contemporary Greek Dance Platform, which will be launched in February 2006, while starting in the fall the Atrium of the Muses will host cut-price concerts aimed at attracting young music lovers. The parking lot, which until now has been used by Megaron members only, will be open to the general public, while the park, the library, the second restaurant and the rehearsal studios are all nearing completion. The opening of the rehearsal studio will mean that the Athens Concert Hall can look forward to more systematic collaborations with the Greek Radio and Television (ERT) music ensembles and the Athens Municipal Orchestra, as well as with the Greek National Opera, which is slated to stage Verdi’s «Don Carlo» in May 2006. The successful Megaron Plus series of lectures and presentations will continue and expand with an ambitious project that has the backing of the Culture Ministry, while the Megaron will continue its collaborations with the Athens State Orchestra, the Camerata Friends of Music Orchestra and other ensembles that have become a staple on the Megaron’s program. Other highlights in the 2005-2006 season include: * The Mozart Cycle, which includes a production of «The Magic Flute» (December 2005) and the «Mozart Requiem,» choreographed by John Neumeier for the Hamburg Ballet (April 2006). * An appearance by the cutting-edge dancer and choreographer Akram Khan, who will present his latest project, a collaboration with composer Steve Reich (April 2006). * Handel’s «Messiah,» performed by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Rene Jacobs (December 2006). * A Greek first of Alban Berg’s second opera, «Lulu» (October 2005). * Three concerts by the popular Greek singer Vicky Moscholiou in tribute to Panos Geramanis (October 2005). * A Greek premiere of the dance theater performance «Mare Nostrum» by Maurizio Kagel (November 2005). * A tribute to Mikis Theodorakis comprising a variety of events, including a performance of extracts of the composer’s so-called «Tetralogy» performed by the Dresden Symphony Orchestra and the ERT Choir (November 2005). * A Romantic Music Festival with acclaimed pianist Dimitris Sgouros (November 2005).