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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-25

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Events dedicated to Callas
  • [02] Lycabettus theatre reopens

  • [01] Events dedicated to Callas

    Cultural events titled "Prespes 2008" will be dedicated to singer Maria Callas this year, while the exhibition on the Greek soprano will be inaugurated by President Karolos Papoulias, accompanied by Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    A press conference was held at the culture ministry on Tuesday on the artistic programme for the month of August in the presence of the culture minister, main opposition PASOK party Deputy and inspirer of the institution George Lianis and local officials of the prefecture of Florina. Also present were many of the artists who will be participating in the Prespia, which will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Maria Callas

    [02] Lycabettus theatre reopens

    The city of Athens municipal authority on Tuesday announced that the Lycabettus Theatre would reopen after a controversial last-minute shut down that forced Athens Festival organisers to cancel two performances by James Blunt literally hours before they were due to start.

    After convening on Monday, the City of Athens Municipal Committee said it had decided to reopen the theatre and hold a discussion on the matter at the Athens City Council on Wednesday, based on the latest round of correspondence with the Tourism Development Company (ETA), which is the theatre's proprietor and manager.

    A municipality press release said that a letter and attached evaluation reports from ETA dated June 21 confirmed that the original letter sent on June 5 that called for the immediate suspension of the Lycabettus Theatre's operation on safety grounds was "based on false assumptions" and blamed the Athens Festival organisation for the mix-up.

    According to local media, the technical reports that declared the theatre safe and able to operate had somehow been "misplaced" by both authorities, as well as letters from ETA asking that the original request for the theatre's closure be ignored.

    The municipality had been intensely criticised after its decision to close the theatre down on June 18, just three hours before the scheduled Blunt concert was due to begin.

    In a press release issued at the time, it had cited the original letter sent by ETA to Athens Festival, the municipality and the Greek National Tourism Organisation stating that the theatre was in need of immediate repairs to ensure that it was safe.

    It admitted, however, that the claim was then revoked by ETA in a letter dated June 17, a day before the Blunt concert, and that Athens Festival SA had asked the City of Athens to revoke a decision to seal off the theatre in a letter on June 18, saying it would claim full responsibility for its operation.

    This was followed by a third letter from ETA, dated June 18, in which it said that, based on technical reports, reinforcement works had been carried out on the theatre's bleachers and "there was no risk....which necessitated the closure of the theatre".

    In the meantime, however, the municipality had already issued an order to suspend the operation of the Lycabettus Theatre and seal it off on safety grounds. Athens Festival SA contested the decision in the Athens first-instance court but the request was rejected by the court on the grounds that it was not qualified to decide.

    Justifying the decision to go ahead with the closure on Friday, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis claimed that the municipality had "nothing to do with the Athens Festival nor the Lycabettus Theatre" and that the municipal police were merely executing the orders they were given by the courts and other competent bodies.

    "The order for the inspection of the theatre was issued by the Greek National Tourism Organisation. The original report was never withdrawn, apparently because the engineers who signed it refused to do so. The order for the closure was issued 14 days ago by ETA and the Greek justice system confirmed the City of Athens decision for the theatre's immediate closure," Kaklamanis had said in a reply to criticism from the Athens Festival organisers, adding that the municipality was not in a position to take chances with people's safety because tickets had been sold.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of man opening the gates of Lycabettus open theatre

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