CULTURE

Stockholm Philharmonic starts Christmas at Megaron

Waiting for a white Christmas in Athens, the Athens Concert Hall launched the festive season with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in the series «Great Orchestras – Great Conductors.» Vladimir Ashkenazy conducted works by Scandinavian composers in concerts on December 17 and 18, enchanting the public and diplomats who attended the performances. Swedish Ambassador Marten Grunditz and his wife Maine played host at the premiere reception with Nicholas and Matti Egon. The first concert included works by Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen. According to an earlier review in The Times, until one has heard the solo clarinetist Martin Frost, who played at the Athens concerts, one has not heard clarinet at all. He gave two curtain calls. Ashkenazy was also in great form. Now a national of Iceland, the homeland of his wife Dody, he was given a rousing welcome by the Athenian public. The Tuesday concert again featured works by Sibelius, as well as Edvard Grieg, featuring pianist Vassilis Tsambropoulos. After the concert, the Egons gave a private dinner in honor of their friend Ashkenazy. The guests included Niki Goulandri, Giorgos Papoulias and his wife, the Foreign Ministry’s protocol director Anastassis Mitsialis and his wife, Ambassador Tasos Skopelitis and his wife Magdalena, Ilias Gounaris, the ambassadors of Germany, Norway, Egypt, Algeria and Portugal, the art collector Ion Vorres, mezzo-soprano Marita Paparizou, Olga Karatza and Martha Dertili, among others.