Almost as alive as the town is during the day, it is at night... Athens offers you a choice in whatever kind of entertainment you like. In a lot of kafeneons, bars and ouzeries you will find live music, sometimes even during the day.
An evening out in the theater, ballet, classical concert or a pop concert in one of the open air amphitheaters will leave you with fond memories of Athens. There are many places where you can enjoy typical Greek music and can dance to it till dawn breaks.
Over seventy-five years ago, in the slums of Piraeus and Athens, two distinct musical styles began to merge: the rebetika music of the outcasts and outlaws of mainland Greece and the smyrneika of the Christian refugees from Asia Minor.
Within this century, these kinds of music have been shaped by several major historical events: the expulsion of the Christians from Asia Minor, the Metaxas dictatorship and finally World War II and the ensuing Greek Civil War.
Early rebetika was an amateur music, which the performers played mainly for themselves and their friends in the tekedhes (hash dens), prisons or other gathering places.
The primary instruments were the bouzouki and baglama; rhythm might be tapped out by foot or with spoons, glasses, komboloi or on the soundboard of another bouzouki.
Due to popularity of western music or perhaps the desire to be associated with western things and therefore not Eastern or Ottoman, Greece nearly lost an important musical tradition.
By the 1950's, the dromous (modes) used by the rebetic and smyrneic musicians were all but forgotten. Most new compositions employed the western major and minor scales and harmonies.
Old songs were reworked, harmonized in a western tradition. Fortunately, with the re-emergence of rebetika and smyrneika, the old traditions are being re-examined by today's Greek musicians, and Greece's musical output will be all the richer.
(GREEK NATIONAL OPERA)
The Lyric Theater is known in Greece as the Lyriki Skini but is internationally better know as the Greek National Opera.
It is the only lyric theater in Greece, established in 1939 as a part of the then called Royal Theater, which matured during the years of the occupation of Greece by the German forces.
In particular during that period the Greek National Opera was one of the very small free voices left and since 1944 the Greek National Opera operates as an autonomous organization.
It presents its performances at the Olympia Theater. Various operas are performed, often starring foreign artists. In summer, the Lyriki Skini transfers its activities to the Odeion of Herod Atticus (Herodeion) by participating in the Athens Festival.
The neuralgic part of the Greek National Opera is its own ballet, of which, apart from its participation to operas and operettas, it has at least two autonomous "Evening Ballets" every winter and one at the Athens Festival during the summer.
The first "Evening Ballet" has been presented during the year 1960. Since then many plays have been presented, not only of classical and romantic repertory, but also from the space of contemporary dancing of Greek and foreign professionals.
ATHENS CONCERT HALL
One of the world's finest cultural centers, completed in 1991, able to house concerts, opera, ballet with famous guest artists from all over the world.
Specialist companies and consultants from throughout Europe were brought together, as a team, to create a cultural center to match the exacting standards of the words finest orchestras and to create a conferences center with technical abilities unrivalled by most other European venues.
In Megaron there are two halls: the Hall of the Friends of Music and The Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall, a conference center.
The National theater, for which Hadrian's Library served as a model for the structure of the facade, was built between 1895 and 1901 by the German architect Hernest Ziller.
It served as the official Royal Theater for the King's guests until 1908.
In 1924 it was renamed from Royal to National theater.
The original internal installations for the stage facilities, the lighting and heating were among the most sophisticated of its kind for their times.
They were designed by Viennese mechanics and constructed in Piraeus' factories.Classical and modern repertoire is presented in Athenian theaters all year round.
The two organized state theatrical companies, the National Theater in Athens and the Northern Greece National Theater at Thessaloniki, follow the festival program organized by the GNTO. In winter, they present noteworthy plays by Greek and foreign playwrights.