a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou
Now in 2005 Irene Papas has selected the popular classic play "Antigone" by Sophocles to be staged during the 41st festival of Classical Drama in Syracuse, on the island of Sicily (Italy). Performances are held every other day from May 14th to June 25th at 18:30 in the ancient Greek Theater.
The stage of Antigone is tailor-made for the occasion and consists of a white circle with shallow steps in the background. At the back and sides of the stage numerous huge white statues were placed, resembling the (originally hand-sized) ancient Greek Cycladic figurines. An impressive sight!
On the utter left and right of the stage towers were erected to support the lighting equipment, while the music played through the speakers situated behind the stage. The (Italian) dialogue on the other hand could be heard from the speakers set into the outer circle of the stage.
With the play starting in the early evening and the hot sun slowly being replaced by a mild breeze, the audience and actors could enjoy the comfortable temperatures of Italian summer evenings.
The play opened with a terrifying scream and the appearance of the soldiers running from the stage into the audience. Most actors were dressed in black throughout, with the exception of Antigone (changing into a white dress) and Eurydice (in scarlet red) which made a stark contrast against the white stage. Some of the scenes presented are very dramatic and made an very emotional impact.
From start to end the play lasted a bit short of 1,5 hours, Vangelis' original music could be heard throughout the play. Sometimes played loud to enhance the dramatic effect (as in the opening sequence), sometimes played softly in the background accompanying the dialogue, about half of the duration some music could be enjoyed. During some scenes the extra's on stage act as a chorus, singing along with Vangelis' music live on stage. Both a male and a female chorus appears on stage.
Much of the music heard during the play is atmospheric and dramatic, enhancing the scenes and underlining the dialogue of the play. Some parts have a more melodic feel and in sound resemble the music heard in Oliver Stone's movie "Alexander". The end theme though repetitive is an instant favorite!
Before and after the play elaborate programmes (as well as smaller booklets containing the dialogue) were sold to the public. The city of Syracuse was covered with posters advertising the festival in general, while other posters presented the details for Antigone itself. Specific for the plays performed in the Teatro Greco a leaflet was handed out providing a schedule of the performances.
For more visual impressions of Antigone, view this gallery.