The 35th edition of Siracusa's Ancient Greek Drama Festival will be unveiled May 16 in the magnificent setting of the Sicilian city's Greek Theatre (pictured) with the premiere of a new Italian production of Euripide's The Bacchants.
The tragedy will be directed by Walter Pagliaro and feature scenes by Luciano Damiani, costumes by Alberto Verso, choreography by Gheorghe Iancu, music by Arturo Annecchino and lighting by Domenico Maggiotti. The cast includes Paolo Graziosi (one of Strehler's favourite actors) who plays Dionysus, Piero Sammataro (Cadmus), Piero Di Jorio (Pentheus), Micaela Esdra (Agave). The show will be performed in Italian, with a translation by Guido Reverdito.
The programme of the 1998 Festival, which takes place once every two years and attracts thousands of Greek theatre lovers from all over Europe, also includes Euripedes' Hecuba, in a new production directed by Lorenzo Salveti. Hecuba features scenes by Luciano Damiani, costumes by Sibylle Ulsamer, choreography by Gloria Catizone, music by Paolo Terni, lighting by Domenico Maggiotti and a translation by Salvatore Nicosia. Valeria Moriconi, one of Italy's most talented actresses, will play the leading role of Hecuba. Also starring are Vincenzo Bocciarelli (Polydorus), Selvaggia Quattrini (Polyxena), Luca Lazzareschi (Talbitius) and Gigi Angelillo (Polymestor).
The Festival is organised by the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico (INDA), whose aim is to revive the dramatic arts of ancient times, particularly the unparalleled heritage of Greek comedies and tragedies, and to co-ordinate the schedule of performances in the various Greek and Roman theatres still in use all around Italy.
The first performance in Siracusa's Greek Theatre took place in April 1914, with a memorable mounting of Aeschylus' Agamennon starring Ettore Romagnoli. After the interruption caused by World War I, performances restarted with Choephoroi in 1921, and The Bacchants and King Oedipus in 1922. Between 1924 and 1948 the festival took place every three years; since then it plays every two years. An approximate 145,000 people attended the previous edition of the Festival in 1996. Performance schedule will be as follows:
May 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 at 6 PM. June 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 at 6.30 PM.
May 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 at 6 PM. June 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 at 6.30 PM.
Ticket prices are 50,000 Lire for reserved seats on weekdays (70,000 Lire on Saturdays and Sundays) and 30,000 Lire for unreserved seats (40,000 Lire on Saturdays and Sundays). A special ticket of 20,000 Lire is available for the performances of May 25, 26, 27, 28, June 1, 2, 3 and 4 only.
For further information contact the box office at +39 931 21.041 or INDA headquarters at +39 931 67.415. Check also with the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico website.
--By Stefano Curti