A museum for both children and adults. A museum you want to enter just to remember, to relive those childhood moments, to learn, to absorb fresh impressions, to smile with wonder and joy. A museum until now missing from the grand constellation of museums in Athens – but which the Benaki Museum has now made reality: the Museum of Toys, which opened its doors to the public on October 26 and which now constitutes a new and delightfully different cultural portal.
The building and the exhibits
In a splendid building circa 1897 -1900, donated by Vera Kouloura in memory of her husband the Hydriot shipowner Athanasios Koulouras, is displayed the toy collection of Maria Argyriadi, one of the ten largest toy collections in Europe, featuring children’s toys, clothes, miscellaneous objects and books from Asia, America, Europe and Africa.
The Museum is open every Thursday through Sunday and is wheelchair accessible.
From November 7 through March 5, 2018, the unique works of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh will be presented at the Athens Concert Hall in a special exhibition combining image and sound to create an interactive relationship between visitors and these remarkable paintings. 3,000 sketches and paintings of Van Gogh will be projected on 1,500 square meters of walls, columns, ceilings and floors using a new system of advanced technology capable of producing 3-D images of startling clarity and fidelity, further enhanced by high-quality sound.
A journey into the life and emotions of the great painter
The aim of the exhibition’s curators is to produce a multi-featured digital journey through the works of the great Dutch painter and to bring to life the places where he lived and created. With the help of technology, this digital journey explores Van Gogh’s art and career and delves into his troubled emotional “universe”, which impelled him to the extremes of creativity and demanded agonizing efforts for its achievement.
The exhibition has already toured 35 cities around the world and has been visited by more than 10 million people.
The much-anticipated inaugural performance of the Greek National Opera’s programme at its new home is an event that aims to bridge the perceived gap between opera and modern life, to redefine opera as an art that is at once timeless and poignant, which reacts, bears witness, discusses, disagrees and unites. This fluid and vital role of opera, according to Musical Director Giorgos Koumentakis, places it in continual dialogue with society, one of the main goals of the Greek National Opera in its programme this year.
Beginning with Richard Strauss’ Elektra from the Atreides Cycle
The myth of the House of Atreus, or The Atreides Cycle, with the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the murder of Agammemnon and the revenge of Orestes and his sister Elektra, comprises one of the most enduringly popular libretto-themes for composers, musicians and audiences alike. The first work from the Atreides Cycle, Elektra by Richard Strauss, will debut on October 15 for five performances on the main stage of the National Opera featuring leading soprano Iréne Theorin in the role of Elektra and with world-renowned Agnes Baltsa (in her first time with the Greek National Opera) in the role of Clytemnestra – and with the Orchestra, Chorus and soloists of the Greek National Opera.
The second production: Rigoletto by Verdi, from the Italian Opera Cycle
The social and cultural dimensions of Italian opera, so adored by the wider public, are here revealed in one of the darker and more melodic masterpieces of the great Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto. One of the main attractions of this production is the appearance of the great Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias in his internationally defining role. Appearing along with Platanias is the renowned coloratura soprano Christina Poulitsi in the particularly demanding role of Gilda – as well as the tenor Yannis Christopoulos. Premier on October 25 for 4 performances.
On October 5, the Herodeon will fill with devotees of the “Queen of the electric violin”, Vanessa Mae, who, with her orchestra and team of talented technicians, will also electrify the audience with a stunning show of sound and light.
The multidimensional personality of this dynamic violinist
The beautiful Mae (born to a Singaporean mother and Thai father and who was then adopted by a British father) has sold millions of albums and was listed as the wealthiest artist under thirty in the United Kingdom in 2006. At the age of 13, she became the youngest solo violinist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. She also skied for Thailand in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Finally, to round out her rather extraordinary profile, Mae is active in numerous philanthropic causes, having performed many times on behalf of the International Red Cross.
The musical selections
Mae combines classical and pop music in an intimate and “easy” sound and manages to appeal to a broad audience – as demonstrated by her 40 international Platinum Awards and her sale of more than 8 million albums from both her classical and pop repertoires. On the night of October 5, Mae’s audience can expect to enjoy Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Vivaldi, Indian music, pop songs and compositions by Vangelis Papathanasiou. Tickets are available at ticketservices.gr and at Public stores.