The year is scarcely out of the gates and Athens is fizzing over with a stellar feast of international entertainment. Between now and summer, you can amp up your Athenian city break by catching headliner bands, smash musicals or pop legends. Or how about a world premiere from a celebrated filmmaker or performance artist? If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit the Greek capital over the next few months, here are 5 brilliant ones:
Yorgos Lanthimos: The Artist on the Composer
Is any movie maker as hot as Yorgos Lanthimos right now? The godfather of “weird wave” cinema follows up his Oscar-nominated hit The Favourite with a new short film shot exclusively in Greece, starring Emma Stone and Damien Bonnard. See its world premiere when it screens at the spectacular Stavros Niarchos culture hub to the accompaniment of a live orchestra as part of the Greek National Opera’s 80th anniversary line-up.
Massive Attack at Release Festival
They’ve been hailed as “the prophets of digital darkness”. Diehard fans of Bristol legends Massive Attack would probably think nothing of jumping on a plane for the thrill of seeing their heroes perform live as headliners at this year’s Release Festival. Especially since they will be performing their critically-acclaimed reconstruction of their 1998 masterpiece, Mezzanine. This popular seaside music event is a highlight of Athens’ summer festival season.
Céline Dion Courage World Tour
Mega stars don’t come much brighter than Céline Dion. The multi-awarded Canadian powerhouse is dropping into Athens for the first time this summer as part of her world safari to shop her latest album. Courage is Dion’s first English release since the death of her beloved husband René Angélil in 2016, and is loaded with heartfelt themes of life, death and rebirth, plus a sprinkling of those camp dancefloor tracks her fan army demands. With the Athenian appetite for glitz and glam, Queen Céline should feel right at home here.
Into the Woods
8 Feb – 17 May
Stephen Sondheim’s dark, multi-awarded musical Into the Woods has legions of devoted fans across all ages and countries. See this subverted fairytale when it comes to Greece for the first time in a bold Greek National Opera production that challenges the law of “happy ever after” - to the tune of James Lapine’s masterful libretto.
The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas
Two fierce female icons; one world-premiere production. Radical Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović channels Maria Callas, the most famous opera diva of all time, in a major international co-production between the Greek National Opera, Bavaria State Opera and Berlin State Opera, Opera De Paris and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Abramović’s conceptual opera will revisit Callas' operatic deaths in defining roles like Tosca and Carmen, before turning to the singer’s “final” death of a heart attack in Paris in 1977. Hollywood star Willem Dafoe cameos as Callas' great love Aristotle Onassis.