Odeon Herodes Athens Festival
The ERT National Orchestra at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Photograph: courtesy of AEF/Elli Poupoulidou

ATHENS AND EPIDAURUS FESTIVAL 2020

112
Where: Various venues around Athens & Epidaurus
When: 15 July to 15 August 2020
Why Go: The ultimate line up of music, theatre & dance

The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is the city’s annual arts festival and a highlight of the Greek summer calendar. With a legacy that spans more than sixty years, today it incorporates a full programme of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Performances at the two ancient theatres of the Odeon Herodes Atticus and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are highlights of the festival. Both are famous for their exemplary acoustics and many of the great works of classical playwrights, such as Sophocles, premiered at the Epidaurus theatre in ancient times.

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Athens Festival Rigoletto Odeon Herodes

Dimitri Platanias performing an aria from Rigolleto for the Greek National Opera. Photograph: courtesy of GNO

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This year, in the shadow of these unprecedented times, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival presents a condensed version of its programme, thus bearing the subtitle FRAGMENT – ΥΠΟΣΥΝΟΛΟ.

Beginning on 15th July, 17 Greek productions of music, theatre and opera will be presented exclusively at the open-air theatres at Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

 

ODEON OF HERODES ATTICUS

The spectacular open-air theatre of Odeon Herodes Atticus provides a magical setting at the base of the Acropolis. It has hosted legendary performances by Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti to name a few.

Athens Festival Odeon Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus during the Athens & Epidaurus Festival. Photo: Athens Festival/T.Daskalakis

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Athens during the Festival, be sure to attend at least one performance at any of these ancient theatres for a truly unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience.

JULY 2020

PERFORMANCES AT THE ODEON HERODES ATTICUS

 

A TRIBUTE TO THANOS MIKROUTSIKOS (MUSIC)

15 & 16 July 2020 – 9:00pm

Last year we bid farewell to Thanos Mikroutsikos, a major composer who defined the Greek music scene and revolutionised the musical landscape of the country. This tribute concert dedicated to Mikroutsikos will be an emotional musical journey through songs, choral parts, compositions for musicals and revues, all of which were beloved by audiences and went on to enjoy a life beyond the theatre stage; music originally written for theatre, for plays by Brecht, Lope de Vega, Euripides and Aristophanes, together with poems by Ritsos, Cavafy and Kavvadias set to music.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

BEETHOVEN GALA by the ERT National Symphony Orchestra (MUSIC)

18 July 2020 – 9:00 pm

Celebrating the 250th anniversary since Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, the ERT National Symphony Orchestra presents a gala dedicated to the music of the legendary German composer. The orchestra will present Beethoven’s brilliant and uplifting Symphony No. 1, the great composer’s sole aria concerto, featuring the internationally acclaimed soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu, as well as the divine Piano Concerto No. 4, performed by acclaimed Greek pianist Alexandra Papastefanou.

Conducted by world-renowned, multi-award-winning conductor George Petrou, in his debut as new music director of the ERT National Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

MONIKA live at the Odeon (MUSIC)

20 & 21 July 2019 – 9:00pm

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus will don the colours of a lovely Greek garden for this unique album release concert. Singer and songwriter Monika will premiere her new Greek-language album; an album she has been working on for more than ten years, taking care of it as if it were her own little garden. The fruit of this collective effort is now set to ‘bloom’ at the heart of the Odeon before a live audience.

Accompanied by her orchestra and a youth chorus, and using traditional instruments such as the mandolin and harp, the concert will include both old and new hits and unreleased songs.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

BARTÓK & VIVALDI by the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (MUSIC)

23 July 2020 – 9:00pm

The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra and its famed string instruments are featured in this year’s festival, presenting two remarkable works. Rich in contrasts, Béla Bartók’s Divertimento for String Orchestra will kick off the evening programme, combining neoclassical style with avant-garde modernism. (Conductor Zoi Tsokanou).

Antonio Vivaldi’s timeless masterpiece The Four Seasons will dominate the second part of the evening. This work comprises of the first four out of twelve concertos composed by Vivaldi for violin, string orchestra and continuo. Simos Papanas, concertmaster of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, will perform as soloist on violin and as conductor.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

TWO OPERA GALAS by the Greek National Opera (MUSIC)

26 & 28 July 2020 – 9:00pm

26 July

In the first gala, internationally acclaimed soloists such as Riccardo Massi and Dimitri Platanias will perform famous arias and duets from operas by Verdi (Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino), Giordano (Andrea Chénier), Mascagni (Cavalleria rusticana) and Puccini (Turandot). The Orchestra of the Greek National Opera will be conducted by renowned Italian conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi.

28 July

Audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy three internationally acclaimed opera stars, Celia Costea, Giorgio Berrugi and Ambrogio Maestri, who will perform famous arias and duets from operas by Verdi (Luisa Miller, Il trovatore, Un ballo in Maschera), Ponchielli (La Gioconda), Giordano (Andrea Chénier), Leoncavallo (Pagliacci) and Puccini (Tosca). The Orchestra of the Greek National Opera will be conducted by renowned Italian conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

GIANNIS AGGELAKAS & NIKOS VELIOTIS live at the Odeon (MUSIC)

30 & 31 July 2020 – 9:00pm

Singer Giannis Aggelakas and cellist Nikos Veliotis will perform songs from their latest album for the first time at the Odeon. The duo will revisit landmark Greek songs of the last several decades, from Hadjidakis to Tsitsanis to Theodorakis, Xarchakos, Akis Panou among others.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

AUGUST 2020 

PERFORMANCES AT THE ODEON HERODES ATTICUS

Athens Festival Odeon Armonia Atenea

George Petrou and the Armonia Atenea performing at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Photograph: courtesy of Armonia Atenea

MONTEVERDI’S Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria by the Armonia Atenea (MUSIC)

4 & 5 August 2020 – 9:00pm

Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra returns to the Athens Festival with a new production of Claudio Monteverdi’s operatic masterpiece Il ritorno d’ulisse in patria. Prolific and versatile, the beloved Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra conjures a mesmerising soundscape, drawing on the unique sounds of early Baroque musical instruments, under the baton of George Petrou, one of the most internationally acclaimed Greek conductors. (In Italian, with Greek subtitles).

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

BEETHOVEN 250 YEARS by the Athens State Orchestra (MUSIC)

8 August 2020 – 9:00pm

Even though this year’s unexpectedly disruptive pandemic stalled all worldwide celebrations for the 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, the Athens State Orchestra, under the baton of its artistic director, distinguished conductor Stefanos Tsialis, will emphatically remind us of this major anniversary, presenting two masterworks of the great German classical composer.

The Creatures of Prometheus Op. 43 – Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra, Op. 35 – Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975)

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 – Ludwig van Beethoven 

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2020 

PERFORMANCES AT THE ODEON HERODES ATTICUS

The programme of events for September and October 2020 won’t be released until closer to the performance times in late Summer. To be one of the first to know when the programme is announced, you can sign up here to our festival newsletter for the latest information.

 

ANCIENT THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS

Epidaurus Theatre Athens Festival Crowds Tickets

A twilight performance by the National Theatre of Greece during the Epidaurus Festival. Photograph: Thomas Daskalakis/NTG

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is regarded as the best-preserved ancient theatre in Greece and famous for its perfect acoustics. It was constructed in the late 4th century BC with a capacity of more than 12,000 spectators.

Why Athens Tip: Greek and English subtitles available for all performances

JULY & AUGUST 2020

PROGRAMME AT ANCIENT EPIDAURUS THEATRE

 

LEONIDAS KAVAKOS plays Johann Sebastian Bach (MUSIC)

17 July 2020 – 9:00pm

Internationally acclaimed violinist Leonidas Kavakos will perform a solo repertoire by Johann Sebastian Bach at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus as part of a special event to mark the 65 years of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

THE PERSIANS by Aeschylus (THEATRE) – National Theatre of Greece

24, 25 & 26 July 2020 – 9:00pm

The Persians (472 BC) is both the oldest extant ancient drama and a historical document about the most significant armed conflict during the second Persian invasion of Greece: the Battle of Salamis. Aeschylus’ tragedy focuses on one of the most pivotal battles in human history, in which the dramatist personally fought.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes (THEATRE) – National Theatre of Greece

31 July, 1 & 2 August 2020 – 9:00pm

Popular actor Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos makes his first directorial venture at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, staging a comedy by Aristophanes. Lysistrata was written in 411 BC, at a time when the Athenian city-state was at a critical point, in the midst of the Peloponnesian War. Following the disastrous Sicilian Expedition, Alcibiades has defected to Sparta. From their post in Decelea, the Spartans launch a fierce attack against the Athenians. Within the walled city, the situation is equally grim: the politically volatile situation has weakened the Assembly and the oligarchs are starting to make their presence known.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

THE BIRDS by Aristophanes (THEATRE) – National Theatre of Northern Greece

7, 8 & 9 August 2020 – 9:00pm

Fed up with the political, social and financial corruption of the city, Pesthetaerus and Euelpides seek Tereus, formerly a human and currently transformed into a hoopoe, in order to learn from him and from the other high-flying and perhaps knowledgeable birds whether there is a peaceful place where they could settle. Together they intend to found a new republic, somewhere between heaven and earth, that will hold dominion over both humans and gods, and where birds will have their rightful place.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

LITTLE THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS

Athens and Epidaurus Festival Little Theatre

The Little Theatre of Epidaurus. Photograph: Why Athens

The small theatre of ancient Epidaurus is located on the peninsula called “Nisi” (island), on the right side of the harbour. The theatre was discovered in 1971 and built in the 4th century BC. It was established in the Acropolis of the ancient city of Epidaurus at the south-western slope, before the period of Asklepios, and was used mainly for the events of the Dionysian cult and is therefore dedicated to the god Dionysus. It has a capacity of around 2000 seats. [Getting there: This ancient theatre is located in the Argolis prefecture of the Peloponnese. It is a half-hour drive from Nafplio and approximately two hours from Athens. More info on getting there.]

JULY & AUGUST 2020

PROGRAMME AT LITTLE EPIDAURUS THEATRE

ALKINOOS IOANNIDIS live (MUSIC)

17 & 18 July 2020 – 9:30pm

Jumping off cliffs and crossing steep paths while fleeing her pursuers, Frankojannou, the tragic heroine of Alexandros Papadiamantis’ novella The Murderess, has been etched in the memory of readers for the past 120 years. The character is now restored to her natural habitat, a country landscape, coming alive through Alkinoos Ioannidis’ music. The musician’s voice, an instrument in itself, is accompanied by several musical instruments, which Ioannidis performs, records and plays back in real-time, using the technique of live looping.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

MIHALIS KALKANIS GROUP live (MUSIC)

24 & 25 July 2020 – 9:30pm

Contrabassist Mihalis Kalkanis stands out among the new generation of Greek jazz musicians. Kalkanis fuses electronic music with traditional songs of his grandmother’s generation, doing field recordings in religious ceremonies of immigrants, and delivering a fusion of sounds in his album World Echoes in Athens. 

In this concert at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, Kalkanis collaborates with Syria-born, Armenian oud virtuoso Haig Yazdjian and avant-garde master of electric guitar Jannis Anastasakis, Kalkanis, creating a soundscape where jazz, ambient, traditional, world music, psychedelia, noise, melodies and electronic are woven together to give birth to something altogether unique.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

Il diluvio universale by FALVETTI (OPERA) – Rafi Music Theatre Company

31 July & 1 August 2020 – 9:30pm

Rafi, one of the most dynamic Greek music theatre companies, returns to the Athens & Epidaurus Festival with Michelangelo Falvetti’s elegant Baroque oratorio Il diluvio universale (The Great Flood). Presented in Greece for the very first time, the oratorio of this provocative Sicilian priest caused a sensation when it was originally performed. Inspired by the Biblical story of the Great Flood, its protagonists are natural elements such as water, fire and air rather than Biblical figures. Audiences will be carried away by a seductive blend of period instruments, oriental maqam and animal sounds, with virtuosos Michalis Siganidis and Harris Lambrakis improvising and sweeping us off our feet as if they were medieval troubadours.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

“J’ai des yeux à la place des oreilles” by Francis Poulenc (PERFORMANCE)

7 & 8 August 2020 – 9:30pm

One of the most heartrending works ever composed about the end of romantic love and the despair of being left, Francis Poulenc’s one-act opera, based on Cocteau’s La voix humaine (The Human Voice), will be presented for the first time at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, in a bold directorial concept by Maria Panourgia. Five dancers/actors, each shut up inside his or her own telephone box, round up a cast led by soprano Myrsini Margariti, as fellow travellers throughout the heroine’s anguish and dreams. The set design will reflect the heroine’s emotional rollercoaster to the sounds of Maria Papapetropoulou’s piano.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 

WATERSONG by Savina Yannatou (MUSIC)

14 & 15 August 2020 – 9:30pm

Inspired by Ariel’s song in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to create Watersong, a musical performance featuring songs about water and desert, life and death, fertility, magic, desire, and purification. The artists are joined by Tunisian singer Lamia Bedioui, whose distinctive voice will transport the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus to the realm of the desert. The Arabic language and the Bedouin dialect will cross paths with Mediterranean languages. Traditional and Renaissance songs from several countries are mixed together, spinning tales about water and its power, about the life that water can both give and take away.

Tickets: Available Online Here

 
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