Greece’s £500 million opera house will open next year

Greece’s £500 million opera house will open next year


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2016

Amid an economic paralysis, work continues on the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens, which will include a Renzo Piano opera house budgeted at half a billion pounds sterling.

The late Mr Niarchos is paying the builders.


athens opera house


The indisputable champion of the ongoing projects is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) at Neo Faliro on Athens’s southern coast. The completion of the so-called canopy, an elegant cover soaring above what is soon to be the new premises of the National Library and Greek National Opera, signals the start of the countdown to mid-2016, when the biggest urban revamp in Athens’s modern history is due to be completed. For architect Renzo Piano, who is making his Athenian debut with this project, the symbolic and technical significance of the canopy was huge. The innovative use of ferrocement (consisting of layers of wire mesh and cement mortar) also signals a major technical achievement on an international level. The canopy stands on 30 columns and will be covered with photovoltaic solar panels.

More here.


  • John Borstlap says:

    On the look of it, the aesthetic symbolism of this project is interesting: from the Acropolis above, on the big rock, down to the thin simplistic square called ‘elegant cover canopy’ hovering over comparable immense black holes of absence of any invention whatsoever. This historic trajectory from high to low amply shows where aesthetic sensibility has, finally, arrived.

  • Joep Bronkhorst says:

    That artist’s impression must be almost ten years old. The building already looks dated

  • Peter says:

    Apparently there is no one more qualified than the Greeks, to know, what is important and remains of a society after 2.000 years and what not.
    If you are in debt, spend more money on the arts.

  • Dave says:

    The Greeks required a 86 billion euro bailout plan to survive and they are now building an opera house? I don’ t care if a third party is footing the bill. I guess they just don’t get it.

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      I would guess that Greece relies heavily on tourism to boost its enconomy. This opera house should help make it a destination.

  • Jorrin says:

    Let’s face it people; a beautiful design by one of the best architects in the world, a new state of the art cultural venue, and all paid for by an international philanthropic organisation. It would almost make anyone envious if you did not realise the immense moral depression experienced by Greek people in light of their economic crisis, now also exacerbated by the refugee crisis. The last thing remaining in Pandora’s box is hope.

  • Maurizio Pozzetti says:

    The Opera house will be a blessing to Athens considering all the economic issues they experienced in the last few years. What a beutiful project! The company building it, Salini Impregilo, presented their new business plan yesterday ( and the infrastructures they are planning on delivering in 2016, including the Opera, will really boost the economy of those countries, like Greece, which really need some money flowing in right now.