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Oresteia

Swiss Premiere
MUSIC THEATRE AFTER AESCHYLUS WITH MUSIC BY IANNIS XENAKIS

In altgriechischer und deutscher Sprache, neu übersetzt von Kurt Steinmann. Mit deutschen und englischen Übertiteln. Altersempfehlung: Ab 14 Jahren

In an unbreakable cycle of revenge and counter-revenge generations of the mythical house of Atreus slaughtered each other in battle for the throne. The members of Mycenae’s royal family are so steeped in guilt that not even the gods can tell the difference between right and wrong any more. Agamemnon returns victorious from the Trojan Wars to be greeted by his wife Clytemnestra with the knife she has been sharpening to murder him – in response for his following an oracle in sacrificing their daughter to secure good fortune for his fleet.  Together with her lover Aegisthus she kills her husband. Her son Orestes sees himself forced to avenge this murder and – overcoming all his doubts – kills his own mother. Which is worse: murdering a husband or a mother?  Opinions differ between the god Apollo, who takes Orestes’ side, and the Furies, the goddesses of revenge, who pursue him. The goddess of wisdom, Athene, must determine Orestes’ fate and summons a court of mortals on the Areopagus in Athens in order to reconcile Athens, Mycenae and the antagonistic gods.  

The Greek composer, architect, mathematician and engineer Iannis Xenakis composed music for a production of the Oresteia in 1965/1966, in which he wanted to allow Aeschylus’s uniquely poetic language to be heard. His ‘Oresteia’ Suite was subsequently put together from material he had generated for this production.

In the decades which followed the myth would not let him go. Xenakis wrote further works for a chamber ensemble, mixed chorus and baritone. These focus principally on rhythmic elements and percussion in combination with choral and solo singing, in which Xenakis creates a rousing sound, imagining ancient theatre as a synthesis of all the arts.

In Basel Calixto Bieito will direct this family saga of the House of Atreus with actors, singers, choruses and an orchestra, combining ancient images with a view of Europe today.

A cross art-form project produced by the opera and theatre departments.

Preisstufe VII



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