Olympia Theater

The Greek National Opera was founded in 1939 as the Opera of the then Royal (now National) Theater. Its first performance was staged in March 1940 at the central stage of the Royal Theater. In 1944 the Opera broke away and was converted into a public-law legal person named Greek National Opera (GNO). Since then, its shows were mostly staged at the old Olympia Theater, situated in the same location as the modern-day Olympia Theater. GNO performances were also staged in open-air summer theaters, such as the Park Theater of Alexandras Avenue or the Herod Atticus Theater (Herodeion), and occasionally in other indoors winter theaters of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki. In 1950, proprietorship of the theater was transferred to the Bank of Greece Employees' Equity Fund. A year later the Fund launched an architectural tender for the construction of a new building, which would include a theater. The tender was won by architect Panos Tsolakis and the then newly constructed modern-day Olympia Theater, with improved stage, backstage and front-of-house facilities, was inaugurated in 1958. The new era for the Greek National Opera began with Verdi's Aida.