Learning in Greece
This is a project blog communicating with students about my trip.
Janice Friesen
Information Technologist (IT)
Austin, TX

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Opera at Epidaurus and Mycenae
By Janice Friesen    July 15, 2007 -- 02:07 AM

On the way to Epidaurus we went to Mycenae.  There is an interesting archaeologist story about Mycenae.  In the mid 1800s most archaeologists thought that the Illiad and the Odyessy written by Homer (great stories-you should read them!) were just stories and not based in reality.  Heinrich Schliemann was a flamboyant archaeologist who did not want to listen to others and decided he was going to find the ancient cities that the books were based on.  He went to Mycenae to dig.  Everyone was surprised at what he found.  There was gold and treasure and signs that the city mentioned in the stories of Homer really existed.  He later went on to try to find Troy.  More careful archaeologists took over the dig at Mycenae and found that some of the work done by Schliemann was not done carefully and needed to be corrected, but he did find an important dig.  It is an impressive site to visit

The opera at Epidaurus was a fantastic experience.  The theater is HUGE.  It seats around 15,000 people and the accoustics are so good that you can hear well even from the top rows without any microphones!  

We arrived to a huge parking lot with event staff who guided us to a parking place.  Then we walked over to where we picked up the tickets that we had ordered over the Internet.  Then we went to a consession stand and got hot dogs (!) and sandwiches (lunch meat and cheese) and sat on the grass and ate.  Then we made our way into the auditorium. 

I am sure that the pictures do not do justice to the opera.  It was staged very dramatically.  When we came in and looked at the black and red stage it looked as if all of the activity would happen on the front square stage, but actually the very first thing we say was Medea climbing the black stairs in the back.  She was dressed in a black dress with a red silk cape with a train and when she got about half way up she draped herself like she was laying down and mourning.  All of this was done while the orchestra was playing, but no one was singing yet.  Then the opera continued with a scene down in front where I expected it to be.  The princess was preparing for the wedding. The rest of the story was what I told you from Euripedes.  I was disappointed that they did not show the dragon chariot at the end that Medea escaped on and the killing of the princess and the children happened off stage.  

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Comments: Add New Comments
By small Janice Friesen      July 16, 2007 -- 05:19 AM
The orchestra was in a pit.  In the picture above you can see a curved black area behind the red walk way.  That is the pit. They were playing modern instruments.

The subtitles (which I could not read) were projected on a large black screen at either side of the stage. 

I tried to listen to Greek Language tapes before I went and thought that I might be able to talk more, but even though I can understand a few more words (tora=now for example) and I hear people saying those words I don't understand most of what is said and I can't say anything except for hello, thank you, and good morning.

By Sister Susie      July 15, 2007 -- 12:45 PM
You said the ordchestra was playing. Were they playing modern instruments? Where did they play - was there an orchestra pit or somewhere on stage or backstage?

I believe you said previously (I will have to go back and check) that the opera was in Italian with Greek subtitles. How did they do that? Were the words in the written program?

How much Greek have you learned this time?