Holiday season music events to put a smile on your face

Christmas is now just around the corner, but amid all the fears of a swine flu pandemic – not to mention the country going bust – it’s easy to pull a long face and hide at home. However, going out doesn’t mean going mad, and there is music everywhere in Athens – perfect for a bit of winter cheer – so here are some ideas. At the Athens Concert Hall (1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333, «Three Musical Fairy Tales» – namely «Little Red Riding Hood,» «The Three Little Pigs» and «The Snowman» – go on stage at the Friends of Music Hall tomorrow, followed by additional performances on December 25, 26, and 27 at 5 p.m. «Three Musical Fairy Tales» is based on original scores by Paul Patterson and Howard Blake and will be performed by the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Nikos Haliasas, in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. The visuals complementing the musical stories are illustrated by the graphic artists and animators of the Chickenworks creative team. The opera «Rigoletto» is up next, with performances at the Olympia Theater (59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.2461/364.3725, Giuseppe Verdi’s renowned work is the National Opera’s proposal for the holiday season. Performances continue tonight and then on December 26 and 30 and January 2, 3 and 6. The direction, set design and costumes are by Nikos S. Petropoulos, while Elias Voudouris conducts the National Opera Orchestra. Dimitris Platanias takes on the role of Rigoletto, Elena Kelessidi is Gilda and Hector Sandoval is the Duke of Mantua. To remove any remaining traces of gloom, head to the Half Note Jazz Club (17 Trivonianou, Mets, tel 210.921.3310), where Sue Moreno and the Handsome Men are on stage until December 27. Moreno’s singular vocal style and presence exude 1950s Hollywood flair. A regular on European and American stages, the artist’s repertoire includes Elvis Presley numbers, bossa nova and lounge exotica. Following Moreno and her Handsome Men, the Half Note presents Bellevue Cadillac from December 28 to January 7. The ensemble’s interpretation of gospel, blues, soul, swing and rock’n’roll will be an appropriate follow-up to Moreno’s highly energetic take.

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