The National Opera’s main program for the 2007-8 season will bear the signature of its former artistic director, Giorgos Lazaridis. This was only to be expected, and not just because of a shortage of time to make other arrangements. The institution’s board of directors has acknowledged Lazaridis’s great contribution to the National Opera’s renewal and in any case the strife that led to the two parting ways had nothing to do with his artistic choices. The only addition to his initial suggestions has been the re-staging of the highly successful «Tosca,» scheduled to take place in April 2008. Puccini Year The addition of «Tosca» is not without significance, since it means the program now features four works by Puccini, something rather appropriate given that 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The other three performances will be the brand new production of «La Boheme,» with a fresh approach from director Graham Vick that is to premiere on December 21, then the one-act «Gianni Schicchi» which will open on November 25, followed by the exotic «Turandot» on June 1 at the Herod Atticus Theater, which will bring the great Renata Scotto to Athens. One of the most highly acclaimed voices of the 20th century, the Italian soprano stopped singing in 2002 and has since devoted herself to directing and teaching. The season will start on October 14 with another repetition, Verdi’s «Nabucco,» which also met with great success when staged last season. It will feature a new cast and a fresh look by director Julia Pevzner. November will feature three works from the inter-war period, namely Igor Stravinsky’s «Mavra» (a Greek first), Kurt Weill’s «Seven Deadly Sins» and the aforementioned «Gianni Schicchi» by Puccini. All three will be staged in a single performance. Manolis Kalomiris’s «The Masterbuilder,» which will go on stage at the Athens Concert Hall on January 21, will also travel to pre-Olympic Beijing. The production will be directed by Thomas Moschopoulos, a choice bound to produce interesting results. Kalomiris’s work will be followed by «Le Comte Ory» on February 19, the last comedy that Rossini composed for Paris. The production will bear the signature of director Mariame Clement. What is probably Verdi’s most political opera, «Simone Bocanegra,» will be the second joint production with the Athens Concert Hall and will premiere on May 4. Operettas Once More Those disappointed with Lazaridis’s decision to end operettas will be glad to know that they will be returning to the Acropol Theater. A tribute to Theofrastos Sakellaridis has been scheduled for December, under the artistic direction of Lambros Liavas. The opera program for children has also been strengthened, but will kick off with another repetition, Rossini’s «Cinderella,» adapted by Carmen Ruggeri.