The attitude of renewal that the Hellenic Festival embarked upon last year, with new leadership under Giorgos Loukos, seems to be continuing this year with a very promising program of events. Prominent personalities from the international art scene (think Elvis Costello, Sylvie Guillem, Isabelle Huppert, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the China National Ballet and Ariane Mnouchkine, among others) as well as numerous Greek artists from different fields will feature in a festival which appears even richer and more colorful this time, without exceeding the new two-month limit (June and July) initiated last summer. Although at the recent press conference Loukos could not provide a fully detailed program for the venues that will house the Athens Festival events, it appears that besides the Herod Atticus Theater, performances will once again be held at the Pireos 260 venue, the Faliron Olympic Complex (the tae kwon do stadium), the Porta Theater, the Irene Pappas School on Pireos as well as a new venue which will be created in another building of the Tsaoussoglou complex at 260 Pireos. The Herod Atticus, Pireos 260, Porta Theater and tae kwon do stadium program was mentioned in detail but the existence of other productions that do not have a date or venue set for them yet can only mean that the second stage at 260 Pireos was only recently handed over to the Athens Festival by the Ministry of Culture (which owns the complex). This year’s festival will feature five main cycles of events: a tribute to Maria Callas marking 30 years since her death, a cycle titled «From Prose to the Stage» with a series of mostly Greek performances, a tribute to renowned choreographer William Forsythe, a tribute to 20th and 21st century music (with the participation of Greek and foreign music ensembles) as well as a tribute to Greek song (with concerts dedicated to Manos Loizos – on the occasion of the 25-year anniversary of his death – Eftychia Papayiannopoulou, Akis Panou and others). The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus will once more host six performances, one of which will be an opera production. The program announcement was praised by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, who pointed out that the City of Athens has not given priority to culture so far. He expressed his desire for Athens to become a world cultural capital and welcomed close collaboration between the municipality and the Athens Festival. Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis stressed the festival’s renewal under Loukos and added that the ministry fully supports that effort. Elaborating on the continuing efforts to renew the festival, Loukos added that this summer there will be more performances for children and immigrants. At the press conference, Voulgarakis also announced that the Ministry of Culture has succeeded in acquiring the Psyrri building that used to house the Embros Theater of recently deceased director Tassos Bandis. He noted that the ministry has responded in this way to the appeal of the local theater scene and assured those present that it will be used for art purposes, with a number of suggestions pending. Voulgarakis added that he and Mayor Kaklamanis will soon hold a meeting to decide on a closer collaboration between the City of Athens and the ministry on matters of culture.