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Hellenic Festival and Other Shows

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Hellenic Festival and Other Shows
 
The city's primary artistic event, the Hellenic Festival, (formerly known as the Athens Festival) in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus from June through September, has showcased performers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Luciano Pavarotti, Sir Elton John and Diana Ross; such dance troupes as the Royal London Ballet, the Joaquin Cortes Ballet, and Maurice Bejart; symphony orchestras; and local groups performing ancient Greek drama. The festival usually commissions a world premiere, such as the recent musical theater production of Casanova, coproduced by Milan's Piccolo Teatro and the Modena Opera House, choreographed by Carol Armitrage and accompanied by Mikis Theodorakis's Orchestra of Colors.
 
The theater is a delightful setting, with the floodlighted Acropolis looming behind the audience and the Roman arches below making a stunning backdrop for the performers. The upper-level seats have no cushions, so come prepared with something to sit on, a light wrap, and low shoes, since the marble steps are steep. For most performances the Gamma zone is the best. Tickets sell out quickly for popular shows; they are available from the Festival box office (In the arcade at 4 Stadiou Street, Telephone: 210/322-1459) or before the show at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Irodion) (Telephone: 210/323-2771; 210/323-5582 box office). Prices range from EUR12 to as high as EUR60 for the big names.
 
Other festival events are held at the more intimate Lycabettus Theater (At the top of Mt. Lycabettus, Telephone: 210/322-1459 Hellenic Festival; 210/727-2233; 210/722-7209 theater box office), set on a pinnacle of Mt. Lycabettus. The specialty here is popular concerts, with such performers as B. B. King, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, and Paco de Lucia. Since buses travel only as far as the bottom of the hill, and taxi drivers often won't drive to the top, buy a one-way ticket on the funicular and walk about 10 minutes to the theater.
 
Emerging as a main summer concert venue, the Vyronas Festival held mid-June through July (Theatro Vrahon, Vyronas, where Trolley 11 ends, Telephone: 210/762-6438) offers performances in an old quarry, ranging from well-known Greek musician Dimitris Mitropanos to international acts such the Beijing Opera to ancient theater classics such as Aristophanes' The Frogs. Performances begin around 9:30 PM. Buy tickets, about EUR10 - EUR12, at the theater before the show or at major record stores, the Vyronas Cultural Center (Kiprou and Evaggelikis Scholis Street, Telephone: 210/766-2066), or the Vyronas Town Hall (32-36 Karaoli Dimitriou Street, Telephone: 210/765-5748).
 
The Dora Stratou Troupe, the country's leading, spirited folk dance company, performs a fine selection of Greek folk dances from all National regions, as well as from Cyprus, in eye-catching authentic costumes. The programs change every fortnight. Performances are held Tuesday through Sunday from the end of May through September at 10:15 PM; Wednesday and Sunday there are additional shows at 8:15 PM. Performances take place at the Dora Stratou Theater (Arakinthou and Voutie Street, near Filopappou, Telephone: 210/921-4650 theater; 210/324-4395 troupe's office; users.hol.gr/~grdance). Tickets cost about EUR12 and can be purchased at the box office before the show. 

To keep yourself up-dated with what's going on in Athens and Greece, we recommend to visit Ministry's of Culture website at www.culture.gr

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