One of the pleasures of living in Athens, is the possibility one has, to enjoy the performances of the annual Athens & Epidaurus Festival that take place during the Summer months. Both the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are famous for their exceptional acoustics. Many works of classical playwrights, such as Sophocles, premiered at the Epidaurus theatre in ancient times.
Below the 2019 program as it was recently announced.
Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2019
Artistic Director: Vangelis Theodoropoulos
Where: Various venues around Athens & Epidaurus
When: June 5 to August 10, 2019
ODEON OF HERODES ATTICUS
5, 7, 9, 11 June
Greek National Opera – Carlus Padrissa – La Fura dels Baus – Georgios Balatsinos
Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Norma returns to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in an ambitious Greek National Opera production, directed by Carlus Padrissa and the one-of-a-kind La Fura dels Baus. The famous Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio reprises the demanding title role, having recently portrayed Norma at the Bayerisches Staatsorchester in Munich. The creative, restless Spanish group, always eager for experimentation, will present their own take on Norma, drawing inspiration from poetic melodies, including Bellini’s well-known “Casta diva” aria.
Eleni Karaindrou – Tous des oiseaux
On June 14, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus will brim with colours and melodies composed by the major Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou. Thirty-one years after her first, iconic concert at the Odeon in 1988, Karaindrou will deliver a spellbinding concert in two parts.
Jethro Tull – 50 years of Jethro Tull
Following their first, historic gig at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus back in 2003, Jethro Tull return to the hallowed grounds of the Odeon to celebrate their 50 years into the music business together with their Greek fans. In their single appearance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Jethro Tull will revisit their long career; half a century of musical flashbacks in an evening that is bound to be unforgettable.
Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg – Yuja Wang – Gustavo Gimeno Works by Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Shostakovich, Stravinsky
The Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg was founded in 1933 and currently consists of 98 musicians from over 20 countries. Having won numerous awards over the years (Grammy Award, Grand Prix Charles Cros, Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, BBC Music Choice, Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique), the Orchestra remains a major cultural institution in Luxembourg, giving concerts all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas
George Dalaras – İzmir State Symphony Orchestra – Hakan Sensoy
Smyrna a.k.a. İzmir: A city whose very mention stirs mixed feelings, ranging from pain and sadness due to the destruction of the city in 1922 to the love and sense of pride for this great city, where the parents and grandparents of many Greeks were born and spent parts of their lives.
ERT National Symphony Orchestra – Anastasios Symeonidis Fête de la Musique
Works by Skalkottas and Mendelssohn
On the occasion of the 2019 Skalkottas Year (this year marks the 70-year anniversary since the death of Nikos Skalkottas), the ERT National Symphony Orchestra will pay tribute to the great Greek composer, performing the ballet The Sea, a series of vivid images, drawn from the sea world, revolving around fantasy elements and the phantasmagoria of ballet dancing, as well as marine traditions, commonly found in folk tales. The music could be considered an example of symphonic suite.
Wiener Symphoniker – Leonidas Kavakos Works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Beethoven
Classical music fans can look forward to a unique experience on 22 June. The Wiener Symphoniker (Vienna Symphony Orchestra), joins forces with the acclaimed violinist and conductor Leonidas Kavakos on the stage of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
The Wiener Symphoniker, under its current conductor Philippe Jordan, is one of the leading orchestras in the world. Founded in 1900, the Orchestra has collaborated with legendary musicians, including Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Georges Prêtre, and Vladimir Fedosejev.
Athens State Orchestra – Adrian Prabava
A Tribute to Steven Spielberg
Live music with simultaneous screening of movie clips and photos
Steven Spielberg’s name has been linked to some of our most enjoyable experiences in a movie theatre: who hasn’t had goosebumps while watching Jawsor Poltergeist? Who hasn’t experienced an adrenaline rush while watching the Indiana Jones movies,Jurassic Park, or, more recently, Bridge of Spies? His movies have also been noted for their memorable movie scores, composed by some of the world’s greatest film composers, including Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri and above all the great John Williams. The Athens State Orchestra will guide us through the magical world of Spielberg’s films, reminding us some of the most beloved film scores of all time.
Loreena McKennitt – The elf of Celtic sound
If there is an artist successfully fusing Celtic, folk, world and pop music in a seductive blend, then this must surely be none other than Loreena McKennitt.
The major composer celebrates his 80th birthday with a spellbinding concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. With his legendary life and an active career spanning almost 60 years, encompassing songs, compositions for symphonic orchestras, film and theatre scores, operas and oratorios, Markopoulos also founded his own school of Greek music with his ‘Back to the Roots’ movement.
Johann Sebastian Bach – The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites
Suite No. 1 in G minor, Suite No. 2 in D minor, Suite No. 3 in C minor, Suite No. 4 in E sharp major, Suite No. 5 in B minor, Suite No. 6 in D major
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker – Jean-Guihen Queyras / Rosas Mitten Wir Im Leben/Bach6CelloSuiten
Arguably the greatest living choreographer in the world, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker presents her own version of Bach’s six Cello Suites, only a few days after Yo-Yo Ma’s performance.
Dead Can Dance – Dionysus
Throughout a rich career spanning forty years, the popular Australian band Dead Can Dance have stood out for their unique musical style, conjuring enchanting, majestic soundscapes, and drawing inspiration from nature and traditional music, running the gamut from African tradition to Celtic music to European folk music to ambient pop to world beat to psalms and art rock.
6 & 7 July
Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra – Myrto Papathanasiou – George Petrou
Alcina by George Friderick Händel
Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra and George Petrou return to Athens Festival with the genre that made them famous across the globe: 18th-century opera. With award-winning productions in theatres and festivals across Europe, they now embark on a new journey to the magical world of Baroque opera, preparing an impressive new production of Händel’s Alcina.
Ravenna Festival – Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra – Riccardo Muti Concert of Friendship
The internationally acclaimed conductor Riccardo Muti returns to Athens and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus for the first time in 11 years with The Roads of Friendship. This annual musical pilgrimage, curated by Ravenna Festival since 1997, has taken Muti and an ensemble of Italian musicians to historic cities of the past and the present, where they have performed together with local musicians.
ERT Contemporary Music Orchestra – Maria Farantouri – Anastasios Symeonidis
Shall We Go to the Movies?
Maria Farantouri and her team deliver covers of all-time classic songs of Greek and world cinema, reliving unforgettable moonlit nights; songs which never quite faded away after the closing credits rolled; songs which acquired a life of their own.
An all-time favourite of Greek music lovers, the British band Tindersticks will make a single mid-summer appearance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Athens State Orchestra – Maxim Vengerov – Stefanos Tsialis
Maxim Vengerov is one of the greatest violinists of the last few decades and a highly cultured and sensitive artist, whose every performance is a must-see event.
27, 28, 30, 31 July
Greek National Opera – Konstantinos Rigos – Loukas Karytinos
La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
The second Greek National Opera production featured in this year’s Athens Festival, La Traviata is directed by Konstantinos Rigos, the groundbreaking choreographer and director of the Greek National Opera Ballet who is also highly experienced with big productions. Featuring the Orchestra, the Chorus andSoloists of the Greek National Opera
China National Symphony Orchestra – Austrian Salzburg Children’s Choir Enjott Schneider – Otto Sauter – Ten of the Best
Ceremony of Harmony
Melody of Worldwide Civilization
True to its title, this ceremony of musical harmony is a collaboration of Athens Festival with the National Cultural Industrial Investment Co., Ltd. Musicians from different countries join forces to convey a universal vision of world peace.
ANCIENT THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS
21 & 22 June
Robert Wilson Oedipus
The iconic story of Oedipus comes alive in Robert Wilson’s series of breathtaking tableaux vivants. The celebrated director follows Oedipus’ story chronologically, without strictly adapting Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, from the moment of Oedipus’ birth and his abandonment as an infant to the moment of his self-inflicted blinding, following the horrific revelations from the first light of birth to the last light he sees before it all goes black. Two ‘witnesses,’ a man and a woman, spin his tale, the life and times of Oedipus, speaking across the centuries.
28 & 29 June
NATIONAL THEATRE OF GREECE Oresteia byAeschylus
A bold, original concept by the National Theatre of Greece: Oresteia, the only extant ancient drama trilogy is presented in Epidaurus in a single performance by three directors in their Epidaurus debut, featuring a single cast and crew: Agamemnon by Io Voulgaraki, The Libation Bearers by Lilly Meleme, and The Eumenides by Georgia Mavragani.
Io Voulgaraki – Agamemnon
In the first part of Aeschylus’ trilogy, King Agamemnon returns to Argos, shortly after the end of the Trojan War. Agamemnon triumphantly marches into the city and his palace, flaunting the Trojan princess and Apollo priestess Cassandra as his captive. Clytemnestra welcomes her husband, all pomp and circumstance. However, it is quickly revealed that her enthusiasm conceals a well-orchestrated plan. She has decided to take revenge for the murder of their daughter, Iphigenia, sacrificed by Agamemnon to get the Greek ships sailing. The red carpet Clytemnestra rolls out for Agamemnon’s return foreshadows the impending bloodbath, as she and her accomplice/lover, Aegisthus, plot to murder the king and his concubine.
Lilly Melee – The Libation Bearers
In the second part of Aeschylus’ trilogy, Electra take centre stage, mourning her murdered father and obsessively anticipating the return of her brother, Orestes, her beacon of hope, with whom she plans to take revenge for Agamemnon. In the beginning of the play, Electra mourns over her father’s grave. The Libation Bearers, the women of the Chorus accompanying her, add to her laments. There, Electra is reunited with her brother, who returns after many years abroad, together with his loyal friend, Pylades, both disguised as outsiders.
Upon seeing her in mourning, Orestes realizes they will be allies and reveals himself to her. Things escalate very quickly: aided by Electra, Orestes and Pylades pretend to be foreigners bringing the dead Orestes’ ashes home to Clytemnestra. After Clytemnestra welcomes Orestes, he reveals his identity to her and subsequently murders both her and her lover and accomplice, Aegisthus. The Furies arrive to take revenge against Orestes for his matricide.
Georgia Mavragani – The Eumenides
The third part of the trilogy revolves around Orestes’ pursuit by the Furies and the holy trial he must submit himself to in order to be acquitted so that the Furies can be appeased and transformed into Eumenides. The Areopagus court is also established in this play, often considered to be a foundational play of Athenian Democracy.
5 & 6 July
NATIONAL THEATRE OF GREECE CYPRUS THEATRE ORGANISATION Stathis Livathinos
The Suppliants by Euripides
Two national theatres, the National Theatre of Greece and the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, join forces to produce an iconic play: a tragedy about war and its victims, existential dread, dignity, faith and resilience, in a new translation by Giorgos Koropoulis.
It has been 43 years since the tragedy was last staged by the National Theatre of Greece – the only time in the National Theatre’s history – directed by Takis Mouzenidis, and 29 years since the first presentation of the play by the Cyprus Theatre Organisation in Epidaurus, directed by Nikos Charalambous. This new production, a joint venture of Greek and Greek Cypriot artists, will be directed by the incumbent artistic director of the National Theatre of Greece, Stathis Livathinos.
The mothers of the Argive generals who perished in Thebes fighting by Polynices’ side become suppliants at the temple of Demeter in Eleusis, joined by Adrastus, king of Argos. The suppliants plead with Theseus, king of Athens, to help them: the Thebans are keeping their dead sons as spoils of war and will not allow them to be buried.
In response to this just plea, Theseus decides to send out a message to Creon, king of Thebes. Soon, a Theban messenger arrives bringing a message to Theseus: he is to drive Adrastus and the mothers away, otherwise the Theban army will attack the Athenians.
Theseus leads the Athenian army against Thebes and ultimately retrieves the bodies and has them carried to Eleusis, where they are to be burnt properly. A delirious Evadne, widow of Capaneus, jumps into the funeral pyre to burn along with her husband. Mothers and children return home, carrying the ashes of their loved ones with them.
Written in 422 BC, the tragedy echoes the battle of Delium (424 BC), in which the Thebans, allies of Sparta, defeated the Athenians and for several days would not allow them to retrieve their dead and bury them properly.
12 & 13 July
Konstantinos Markoulakis Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Sophocles’ masterpiece and arguably the greatest Greek tragedy par excellence begins with a mystery. The city of Thebes is afflicted with plague. King Oedipus wants to know why this is the case. The oracle is clear: Apollo demands that Laius’ murderer be punished in order for the city to be cleansed. The king decides to solve the mystery, thus setting in motion a series of horrific revelations.
19 & 20 July
NATIONAL THEATRE OF NORTHERN GREECE Yannis Kalavrianos
Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides
One of Euripides’ late plays, Iphigenia in Aulis was written between 408 and 406 BC, shortly before his death, at the court of Archelaus, King of Macedonia. The tragedy was presented posthumously at the Great Dionysia by the Euripides the Younger, where it won first prize.
The tragedy focuses on the fateful decision of Agamemnon, commander of the Greek forces, to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia. In the beginning of the play, the Greek fleet plans to sail to Troy, but remains stuck in Aulis as the wind has lulled. The seer Calchas reveals that the wind has died down due to Artemis being furious with Agamemnon after being insulted by him. The goddess will only be appeased if Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia. Agamemnon invites Iphigenia to Aulis, on the pretext of marrying her to Achilles, the most admired warrior among the Greeks, prior to their departure for the war.
Faced with a horrific dilemma, torn between his daughter and his people, Agamemnon nevertheless decides to proceed to the sacrifice, dismissing the pleas of Clytemnestra, Iphigenia, Achilles, the army threatening him with mutiny, even his own brother, Menelaus. The noble Iphigenia ultimately reconciles herself with her tragic fate and her heroic death for her people’s sake. In the denouement, a messenger announces to Clytemnestra that Iphigenia’s body disappeared from the sacrificial altar shortly before receiving the final blow. Euripides, at his wisest and most mature here, delivers a masterpiece, addressing the dissention and division among the Greeks of his time, and championing the love for one’s own country.
26 & 27 July
Comédie-Française – Ivo van Hove
Electra / Orestes by Euripides
A few words about Comédie-Française
Founded in 1680 by Molière’s company of actors, Comédie-Française is one of the oldest and most famous active theatres in the world. Spanning three centuries of rich history, the permanent company breathes life into a classical and modern repertoire, both French and international, cutting across 3,000 works by over 800 writers. With a staff of more than 400 making sure that the curtain rises every night on the central stage of Palais Royal in the heart of Paris, Comédie-Française is the only theatre venue in France today still using the practice of rotating repertory. With two more performance halls in Paris, Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier and Studio-Théâtre, the company tours regularly in France and around the world.
The motto of the company, simul and singulis (together and individually) conveys its power and longevity: the collective nourishes the individual, who in turn enriches the collective. The beehive, the emblem of Comédie-Française, denotes a multifaceted, constantly renewed creative force, highlighting the House of Molière as a school of arts and language, a home for artistic growth and creativity.
Comédie-Française on the collaboration with Athens Festival
Following the hugely successful The Damned which premiered at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes at the Festival d’Avignon 2016 and was repeated at Salle Richelieu, Ivon van Hove once again joins forces with the company of Comédie- Française, delivering another impressive gallery of characters, focusing on the House Atreides. This second collaboration of Comédie-Française with one of the internationally acclaimed masters of theatre, this time on an ancient Greek tragedy, was the perfect opportunity for Éric Ruf, general administrator of Comédie-Française, and Vangelis Theodoropoulos, artistic director of Athens & Epidaurus Festival, to bring together these two great institutions of European theatre in a collaborative project.
Ivo van Hove, who opened Athens Festival 2018 with his extremely successful stage adaptation of Bergman’s Persona / After the Rehearsal has clarified that all of his collaborations are born out of his love at first sight with a particular text. In this case, the director brings together two Euripides plays telling the story of Electra and Orestes and more specifically how the two siblings reunite and make a pact to take revenge against their mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. This performance marks the first time that Euripides’ Electra will be performed by Comédie-Française.
Orestes was last presented by the company at Salle Richelieu back in 1923. Widely acclaimed for his formidable talent and his ability to dramatize texts, the director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam constantly redefines his aesthetics and his relationship with the actors. Even though Van Hove denounces the concept of the ‘method,’ he revisits the ancient drama, paying tribute to its social dimension and illuminating the myth with a very clear sense of its relevance to our times.
The story in Ivo van Hove’s words
Electra and Orestes are brother and sister. Young, hurt, fragile and vulnerable, they turn into savage beasts. They have never really known their father, who left when they were little to serve as the commander of the Greek army during the Trojan War. They think of their mother, Clytemnestra, as the enemy, and of their family home as the battleground. Agamemnon’s absence has elevated him into a hero in their eyes. Driven away from their home, the former royal offspring, Electra and Orestes, have become refugees inside their own family and their own country.
2 & 3 August
The Clouds by Aristophanes
Aristophanes’ masterful comedy was first presented at the Great Dionysia in 423 BC and attacks Socrates’ teachings and the philosophical ideas of the time. The elderly, largely uneducated Athenian Strepsiades is in debt owing to the extravagant lifestyle of his profligate, pampered son, Pheidippides. Strepsiades tries to convince him to enrol in Socrates’ Phrontisterion (Thinking Place), where he will be taught the difference between right and wrong reason and will learn to defend himself in court against his creditors. When Pheidippides refuses to comply, Strepsiades enrols himself, despite his advanced age. There, impressed by the wealth of ideas he comes across he asks to meet the master himself. Socrates appears and the induction ceremony of the elderly student begins. However, Strepsiades proves to be an inept student.
Ultimately, Pheidippides succumbs to his father’s threats and is forced to enrol in the school. Father and son watch as the Superior (Right) and Inferior (Wrong) Reason clash, each arguing they can offer the best education to Pheidippides. The Wrong Reason emerges victorious. Strepsiades later returns to pick up his son, now transformed into a paragon of intellect. Strepsiades makes a feast in his house to celebrate his son’s transformation and even drives away two creditors who show up asking Pheidippides to appear in court. When Pheidippides threatens to beat his father, using the arguments he has been taught, a raging Strepsiades decides to destroy Socrates’ school.
LITTLE THEATRE OF ANCIENT EPIDAURUS
9ο ATHENS FILM FESTIVAL Vertigo (1958) by Alfred Hitcock
Once again this year, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival will host two screenings as part of the Athens Open Air Film Festival, one at Peiraios 260 and one at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus. Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful masterpiece Vertigo a is an adaptation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and tells the story of an ex-detective who allows himself to be taken with a femme fatale and her dark secrets and be led down through a corridor of psychosis, a bona fide game of life and death.
28 & 29 June
GREEK NATIONAL OPERA – ALTERNATIVE STAGE Avant-garde musical theatre and ancient myths
Works by Xenakis, Christou, Koumentakis
The Greek National Opera Alternative Stage performs at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus for the first time ever, giving audiences a taste of its activity, presenting three iconic works of musical theatre by avant-garde Greek composers inspired by ancient myths. Following the historic performances of 1960 and 1961, with Maria Callas as Norma and Medea, the Greek National Opera returns decades later in these hallowed grounds of theatre.
Ancient drama has been an endless source of inspiration for two of the leading composers of the 20th century: Iannis Xenakis and Jani Christou. Having composed, early in their career, music for National Theatre of Greece productions presented in Epidaurus, both composers have conceived contemporary musical theatre works drawing on ancient drama. Both Iannis Xenakis’ Kassandra(chronologically the final piece he composed for his Oresteia) and Jani Christou’s Anaparastasis I: The Baritone draw on Aeschylus, and in fact both works use the extant ancient text. Giorgos Koumentakis also draws on an ancient text, in this case Homer’s, in his short opera The Day Will Come…, a highly demanding work on a musical and a vocal level, epitomizing the achievements of the avant-garde scene of the last few decades.
In all three works, the antiquity provides the material and the springboard for a dive into archetypes and an unconditional opening up to the future.
Kassandra (1987) by Iannis Xenakis
Xenakis’Oresteia was created in 1966 and completed in 1987 with the addition of the Kassandra scene. Far from being a faithful adaptation of Aeschylus’ tragedy, this work is an idiosyncratic response to the poetic power of the play and arguably the
fruit of the composer’s deep relationship with antiquity. Kassandra marks the only occasion (along with the monologue of Athena, also written for the baritone Spyros Sakkas) in which Xenakis revisited an earlier work to revise and update it. Kassandra constitutes a study on the prosody of the ancient text, which Xenakis devotedly follows as the basis of his compositions, pushing the performer to vocal extremes, accompanied only by a solo percussionist and a psaltery, a plucked stringed instrument played by the baritone.
Anaparastasis Ι: The Baritone by Jani Christou
Written in 1968, the text comprises the first seven lines from Aeschylus’ tragedy Agamemnon. An exhausted and worried watchman has been waiting for over a year at the roof of the palace in Argos for a sign signalling the fall of Troy in the hands of the Greeks. Having an accurate depiction of the watchman by the soloist or being immersed into the setting of Aeschylus’ tragedy is not within the goals of this work. The text serves more as a vehicle, with the soloist attempting to utter the words, as if they were incantations. Instead of accompanying the performer, the ensemble actively partakes in the ritual.
The Day Will Come… (1986) by Giorgos Koumentakis
The opera The Day Will Come…, with the explanatory subtitle “Imitation of action in six episodes,” was written twice: once in 1986 to be performed at Heraklion and once again in 1995 for the Argos Festival. The first version did not contain any choral parts, which were later added in the second version (text and music). The opera revolves around the fall of Troy thanks to the Trojan Horse ploy and Odysseus’ cool- headedness, as recounted by Menelaus and Helen to Telemachus in Book 4 of the Odyssey.
In its original edition, the opera consisted of six episodes: War and death in Ilion – Prophecy about the fall of Troy – Hector’s death – The Trojan Horse – The destruction of Troy – Exodus: The human fate. Four out of these six episodes (the first, second, third, and fifth) draw entirely on the Iliad, the fourth episode draws on the Odyssey, and the sixth episode draws on both Homeric epics.
5 & 6 July
Theogony, a Great Feast Inspired by Hesiod’s Theogony
Hesiod’s epic, narrative poem, a foundational text of ancient Greek literature (7th century BC) describes the genesis of the world and the lineage of the ancient Greek gods and divinities, combining disparate mythological traditions. Invoking the divine inspiration he has received through Zeus and the Muses, Hesiod delivers 1,022 lines drawing on early observations of natural phenomena and the world, the earth, the sky, the stars and the sea. Starting from Chaos giving birth to the first divinities, Eros, Erebus and Nyx, the poem then moves on to the union between Gaea and Uranus, the castration of the tyrannical Uranus by his son, Cronus, the emergence of the Olympian gods, the myths of Prometheus and Pandora, the Titanomachy, the demolition of paternal power when Zeus dethrones Cronus.
The phantasmagorical universe of Theogony brims with romantic couplings, weddings and births, conflicts and achievements, constituting above all a game of succession, the transfer of power from one generation to the next: from Gaea to Uranus to Cronus and, ultimately, to Zeus, who is presented as the deterministic culmination of things, power in its most legitimized form. In contrast to his predecessors, Zeus is cast as the all-wise and just father-ruler who enjoys the support of his subjects. The docile goddesses by his side have seemingly replaced the earlier menacing female figures.
12 & 13 July
Griffón Dance Company Kaos
Ioanna Portolou’s Griffón Dance Company returns to Epidaurus with Kaos, bringing to a close the exploratory and artistic process beginning last year with the workshop “Chaos & Order” during the second cycle of Epidaurus Lyceum 2018.
The performance focuses on humanity’s endless struggle with Chaos in an attempt to create a lawful order of boundaries, harmony and collectivities. Biblical imagery will introduce on stage a new version of the first humans wandering on the face of the Earth – a contemporary Babel.
19 & 20 July
Daphnis + Chloe byLongus Un amore bucolicο
One of the most famous and iconic love stories of all time, the pastoral idyll Daphnis and Chloe is one of the earliest novels ever written and the only surviving work of the writer Longus from Lesbos, whose life is mostly shrouded in mystery. The various plot twists – the trials and tribulations faced by the two lovers before they finally end up together – are secondary to what is the real issue here: the romanticized and nuanced description of the nature of Lesbos. Each season signals a different chapter in the youths’ romance, reflecting the ebb and flow of their emotions.
26 & 27 July
Efi Theodorou Phèdre by Racine
Maddened, where am I! What did I say? Where have I let my will and spirit go play? I have lost them: the gods deny me their use. Oenone, blushes cover my face, its truth.
Racine’s classical tragedy Phèdre, a 17th-century masterpiece, drawing on Plutarch and Virgil and inspired by Euripides’ Hippolytus and Seneca’s Phaedra is presented at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, not far from the town of Troezen, where the play takes place.
“I sense that Phaedra is somewhat haunted by the Greek landscape,” says the poet and translator Stratis Paschalis. Almost 30 years after the original version of the Greek translation in free verse was released, Paschalis revisits his translation and delivers a new version which brings vividly to life the form of the original text filtered through a more contemporary language, complete with verse and rhymes, as faithful as possible to the original text’s tones and rhythms.
This new translation brings to the fore the musical quality of the original text, allowing for a fresh dramaturgical, directorial and performing approach, highlighting the ‘dialogue’ between the musical quality of the different languages, echoed in the recorded excerpts of the text recited by actors of the avant-garde French scene: Valerie Dreville, Matthieu Sampeur, Cedric Eeckhout, Melodie Richard, Francois Loriquet, Farida Rahouadj, and many more.
2 & 3 August
Le Dainaidi (The Danaids) by Andreas Kalvos
The high-water mark of Andreas Kalvos’ literary career, the tragedy Le Danaidi (The Danaids), the only play that the writer completed and published in his lifetime (1818), epitomizes neoclassical plays, both reconstructing and updating the format of ancient drama, at the same time paying homage to the tragic tradition and the origins of tragedy as a theatre of political community, invoking a universe full of dramatic contrasts, emotional contradictions and fatal choices.
The tragedy draws on the myth of the Danaids, through fragments found across various mythical and literary sources, including Aeschylus’ The Suppliants. The play is set in the city of Argos, where the fifty sons of Aegyptus ask the fifty daughters of the king and Aegyptus’ brother, Danaus, to marriage. Danaus fears that one of his sons-in-law will dethrone him, having already received word about this from the oracle. Hoping to escape his fate, Danaus instructs his daughters to murder their husbands on their wedding night. The only one who disobeys his command and refuses to heed the oracle is Hypermnestra, who is in love with her husband, Lynceus, a feeling that is mutual.
Make sure you purchase your tickets well in advance!