The annual Hellenic Festival, comprising the Athens Festival, the Epidaurus Festival of Ancient Drama and Musical July at the Little Theater of Epidaurus, is the country's largest cultural event.
Featuring opera, classical and modern dance, ancient and contemporary theatrical plays, concerts, recitals and special performances, the Festival hosts renowned artists of the Greek and international cultural scene.
Since its launch in the mid 50's, the Athens Festival has hosted a galaxy of stars, such as Maria Callas, Gina Bachauer, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karayan, Yehoudi Menuhin, Jose Carreras, Agnes Baltsa, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe, Maurice Bejart, Rudolf Nureyev, Bolshoi Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, Kirov Ballet, Ute Lemper, Barbara Hendricks and many others.
The Athens Festival is held since 1955 during the summer months and September at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the ancient theatre at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, built in AD 161 with a capacity of 4.500 seats.
The Epidaurus Festival has been taking place since 1954, in the months of July and August at the ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Peloponnese, featuring ancient Greek Drama performances, including the most important works of Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes. The theatre was built in the 4th century BC and has a capacity of 14.000 spectators.
The Hellenic Festival also uses the open-air theatre of Lykabettus, a landmark in the centre of the Greek capital, for concerts during the summer months and September. The theatre has hosted performers such as Vanessa Mae, Orbital, Lou Reed, Pet Shop Boys, Brian Ferry, Radiohead and many others.
Since 2002, the Hellenic Festival has expanded at the beautiful Little Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, featuring music, poetry and drama.