Saturday, March 15, 2008

Greek Festival

The program of the Athens festival was announced last week. I wasn't sure on whether I should write anything about it or just let it be. An impressive number of productions -mostly in June and July, following the format of the previous two years- will be presented again. Lots of famous musicians and ensembles will again appear, and most of the Greek newspaper journalists are very happy about it. They believe that well-known artists make the festival more prestigious. Whatever...

Anyway, I was searching in the official site of the festival (here), since most of the newspapers didn't mention any ticket prices. Unfortunately, nothing there yet. So, I can't complain, on how much it will cost if you, for example, decide to listen to Renée Fleming, the Orchestre de Paris, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the Bolshoi orchestra and chorus. Not to mention some other luxurious productions... Yes, the Ensemble Intercontemporain is coming again, this time with Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles, in a performance at the Roman ancient theatre of Athens, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Yes, the organizers seem to believe that there will be around 3000-4000 interested listeners -the theatre has a capacity of 5000, so, anything less than 3000 gives the impression of an empty venue...

There are some other productions, more attractive -and less expensive. Information on these is not yet posted on the site. You can find a series of quartet concerts with some great international ensembles and the New Hellenic Quartet. These will find place at the Megaron's small hall, something positive and negative at the same time. Positive, since the Festival was in need of smaller venues. On the other hand, it is rather disturbing if this festival as well gets in the hands of the Megaron people... I said it before, and I'll always say it, monopoly is bad for the arts.

Then, if it wasn't for the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, there wouldn't be any performance from a Greek orchestra... But this didn't bother any journalist. They don't appreciate what they have in the winter, why should they do it in the summer??? I don't get even into the trouble to write anything about my Greek colleagues of somewhat younger age (who, once again, won't perform in the festival)... this is a serious blog! Finally, as far as non-classical music is concerned, there are some more popular events, no soul or jazz however like last year...

If you happen to be in Athens during June and July, the festival worths a visit. Hopefully you'll be prepared to spend some money. This is Athens after all! Expensive and luxurious. Cheers!

buzz it!

4 comments:

Parsifal said...

The tickets to the Athens Festival have always been and still are quite cheap. The prices for all events are finally announced and you ll be glad to find that the most expensive ticket for the Renee Fleming Gala costs 80euro, for Riccardo Muti 100euro, for Sokurov's Boris Godunov it's 60 euro (the most expensive, i repeat!)and for Pina Bausch's Orphee et Euridice it's 50 euro...Now, show me a Festival or an Opera House around the globe with cheaper tickets! I'm very happy that the city i live in hosts such a festival (well, ok, i'm happy since the time mr. Loukos became the Festival Director)even if i mumble and protest constanly about the Megaron and the National Opera

Stefanos Nasos said...

well, you're right. These prices are cheap in comparison with other similar festivals around the globe -much cheaper indeed. The thing is whether is cheap enough for the Athenian audience... And the capacity of the Hodeon is huge. If a couple will visit three or four of these events it will cost around 700€, with some -cheap too- dinner or drinks afterwards. I agree with you this is not much -Greeks however don't give so much for serious art, isn't it?

Parsifal said...

Well, the last few years i spend a small fortune during the festival as i want to watch as much as possible and the worst thing is that all events are sold out! So you have to check often the ticket release dates. The new Athens Festival with G. Loukos directing it, has nothing to do with the old one! You ll feel the difference! And what's that with dinner and drinks? I go for dinner everytime after a performance and you know that food in greece is a lot cheaper that in the rest of Europe. It's a blessing that with 100euros one can watch 4-5 performances!

Stefanos Nasos said...

I'm happier than you for all that information. If events are sold out, that's great!

Food in Greece is cheaper? You have every right to believe that.