Monica Bellucci to Play Maria Callas at Herodus in Athens 

Renowned Italian actress Monica Bellucci will play the iconic Greek soprano singer Maria Callas at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens on September 21-23, 2021.

The highly acclaimed production of “Maria Callas: Letters and Memories,” is directed by Tom Volf and based on his book and film “Maria by Callas.” It premiered in Paris in November 2020 and is about to make its debut in Athens for three nights only.

Insights Greece - Monica Bellucci to Play Maria Callas at Herodus in Athens 
Bellucci in the role of Maria Callas

Having premiered in Paris, at The Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, in March of 2020 and receiving rave reviews, the 80-minute performance will now take place at the historic venue of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, on the slopes of the Acropolis Hill.

Monica Bellucci will be accompanied by the Camerata-Orchestra of the Friends of Music, under the direction of the leading Greek conductor, George Petrou; and a piano which belonged to Maria Callas, a gift from Aristotle Onassis to her, will also accompany the long-awaited appearances of Monica Bellucci in Greece.

The show, which is presented with Greek subtitles is based on the book by Tom Wolf, in which he collected more than 350 unpublished letters from Callas, written by her during 30 years (1946-1977).

About Maria Callas 

The internationally renowned Maria Callas captivated audiences with her iconic opera performances, showing off her vocal range in productions like ‘Tosca’ and ‘Norma.’

Insights Greece - Monica Bellucci to Play Maria Callas at Herodus in Athens 
Maria Callas in New York

Callas was born in New York City in 1923 and began taking classical piano lessons when she was seven years old. She made her professional debut with the Royal Opera of Athens in Boccaccio and soon won her first major role with Tosca. Eventually garnering international acclaim, Callas made her Italian opera debut at the Verona Arena in 1947, later followed by her 1954 American debut in Norma. 

Over the next few years, under the management of her husband, Callas continued to perform in Florence and Verona to critical acclaim. The performance was a triumph and was seen as a signature role. In 1956, she, at last, had the opportunity to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in her home city of New York, but in 1958 was fired by director Rudolf Bing. Callas’ marriage had also begun to unravel. Callas and Meneghini split at the end of the decade, during which time she was having an affair with famous Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

During the 1960s, the quality and frequency of her performances waned. On September 16, 1977, Callas, aged 54, died in Paris of a heart attack. 

Purchase tickets for the performance here 

Athens Airport Finalist For International Architecture Award

Athens International Airport (AIA) has been named as one of six international finalists for a prestigious global architecture award.

AIA has been shortlisted by the world judges Panel of Prix Versailles, which recognises innovation, creativity, a reflection of local heritage, and energy efficiency, and has been nominated as a finalist in the distinguished Prix Versailles Awards, a set of annual international architectural prizes given by the French World Prix Versailles Organisation.

Insights Greece - Athens Airport Finalist For International Architecture Award
Design by Tombazis & Associates & AVW Architects

The airport also named “Eleftherios Venizelos” has been nominated for its expansion of South Wing in the category of World Selection of Prix Versailles Airports 2021. 

The extension of the South Wing structure to the existing AIA Main Terminal Building was designed by leading architects Tombazis & Associates and AVW Architects. This was an important project as it’s one of the first experiences visitors have when landing in Athens and also one of the last as they leave. 

What makes the architectural project so unique is the exterior surface of the building cell, which is highlighted by the element of the louvers, that rotate progressively, revealing views from and to the building. Although the louvers have fixed positions, the building gives the sense of movement and changes in view, as someone moves closer or further away. At night, the extension transforms into a lighthouse for the landing planes.

Insights Greece - Athens Airport Finalist For International Architecture Award
AIA’s South Wing expansion

AIA is up against an $8 billion upgrade at New York’s La Guardia Airport, Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport, New Zealand’s New Plymouth revamp, Kazakhstan’s Hazrat Sultan International Airport, and the Philippines’ Clark International Airport. 

The winners of the Prix Versailles Airports 2021 will be named at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris in November.

Images by Yiorgis Yerolymbos © (Copyright) 

AENÁLIA, the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewelry  

I met Katerina Kritikou, the creative mind behind AENÁLIA, some years ago in Paris, when the city of lights was home for both of us and the place to discover our secret kept self.

She always had a characteristic neo-Hellenic aura, a chic and classy allure from another era. Some years later, she put a piece of herself into jewellery creation and the result is exactly like her- an old love that you can never forget, not because it remained unfulfilled, but because of its quality. No matter how many years go by, it never loses its value.

Insights Greece - AENÁLIA, the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewelry  

AENÁLIA is the first brand that focuses on the rich heritage of Neo-Hellenic jewellery,  creating statement pieces for those who want to tell a story about every piece they are wearing.

We recently spoke to Katerina about her stunning new brand and the concept behind it.

When did you first realise you wanted to become a jewellery designer? 

Ten years ago, on the streets of Paris. I was wearing my original neo-Hellenic jewellery pieces, my grandmother’s gift, and people from all over the world used to ask me where they came from. At first, I wanted to tell the world what neo-Hellenic jewellery is and rescue it from oblivion. Then there was my desire to set it free from its folkloric bonds and gave rise to AENÁLIA’s principal aim: the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewellery.

Insights Greece - AENÁLIA, the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewelry  

How did you choose the neo-Hellenic period as an inspiration?

Αs an art historian, I wanted to dive into Greek history. It was clear to me that I wasn’t interested in Ancient Greece and the much talked-about Grecian style. My grandmother was a member of the local department of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women so I was
surrounded by neo-Hellenic tradition since my childhood. I learned to appreciate traditional costumes and I literally fell in love with the jewellery pieces that accompanied them. Their beauty isn’t just striking in my eyes, it has a story to tell and I am very proud that it’s a Greek one.

How did you come up with the name AENÁLIA for your brand?

AENÁLIA is a non-existent word. It derives from the Greek word “aenaos” which means eternal. Apart from being pleasing to the ear, it states the timeless style of neo-Hellenic tradition.

What makes your collections unique in the industry?

AENÁLIA is the first brand that focuses on the redefinition of neo-Hellenic jewellery as part of present-day elegance. In that sense, uniqueness and wearability are at the core of AENÁLIA’s identity, regarding the customer as the carrier of a particular story, which derives from historical research. As far as I know, no brand has ever focused on neo-Hellenic jewellery and its revival. AENÁLIA is the first one.

Insights Greece - AENÁLIA, the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewelry  

Which elements/materials do you use for your jewellery? 

Inspired by the rich heritage of silversmithing tradition during post-Byzantine period, as well as the remarkable variety of its creations, each AENÁLIA piece is rooted in its cultural context, meticulously designed and handmade with the greatest respect for traditional techniques. In this context, I use silver, gold-plated or oxidized, embellished with precious or semi-precious stones or enamels. There are several variations in each model. I also allow my clients the freedom to create their own AENÁLIA pieces by adding materials and the stones of their choice.

What is your favourite part about being a designer?

I love every minute of the process. From the selection of a specific neo-Hellenic jewellery piece that serves as an inspiration for my design to the historical research. However, the moment I take a new piece in my hands is by far the best one. There is a part not only of myself but also of Greek aesthetic in every piece of AENÁLIA.

What kind of person wears your jewellery? How do you want women to feel when wearing your creations?

A contemporary woman who is comfortable in her skin and feels special would choose to wear an AENÁLIA piece not only because it is unique but also because it has a story to tell, it has roots. I would like to give her the opportunity to feel connected with neo-Hellenic tradition and become a part of its contemporary version. I strongly believe in adaptability and continuity as a way to survive in real life as well as in art.

Insights Greece - AENÁLIA, the contemporary revival of neo-Hellenic jewelry  

What are some of the difficulties you had to face?

First and foremost, finding the means and the inner strength tο get my project off the ground, which demanded a strong belief in my dream. The redefinition of neo-Hellenic jewellery, as the cornerstone of my project, was one of the biggest challenges for me. It involved in-depth knowledge of neo-Hellenic tradition and a highly critical eye to revive it in an appealing and contemporary way without losing its identity.

What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?

It’s the first AENÁLIA piece: the Oia earrings. It’s still my favourite piece and will always hold a special place in my heart. In my opinion, it successfully captures the essence of the Aegean Sea- exactly as any other AENÁLIA piece does with its birthplace.

What’s it like to see someone on the street wearing one of your creations?

I feel proud of myself and blessed to be able to breathe new life into neo-Hellenic tradition based on respect and love for my country’s history. The fact that a woman not only wears an AENÁLIA piece but also knows the story behind it gives me the greatest satisfaction. AENÁLIA’s goal is then being achieved.