Orchestra of Colours, Aristophanes x3
The Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, Greece presents the Orchestra of Colours.
The programme features music written by three renowned contemporary Greek composers for stage productions of Aristophanes' comedies.
The timeless nature of these works, which renders them more adaptable, directorially, to current affairs, also frees them musically from the constraints of historicity. It was Manos Hadjidakis who blazed the trail in this respect, and his creations have exerted a decisive influence on the genre ever since. His music for the National Theatre of Greece production of Lysistrata directed by Karolos Koun in 1957, and for the same director's production of Plutus with the Art Theatre in 1956-57, contained songs that would go on to become major hits.
Yiorgos Kouroupos wrote his music for Lysistrata for the National Theatre of Northern Greece production directed by Andreas Voutsinas in 1983. The instrumental accompaniment is sparing and punctuated by percussion, while the unforced sweetness of its phrases partner the dialogue perfectly. The rhythmic repetition of words boosts the immediacy and sincerity of the songs' drama.
Thodoros Antoniou wrote his music for The Frogs for the Open Theatre production directed by Yiorgos Michailidis at Epidaurus in 1990. Witty with a solid rhythmic structure, the music is eclectic, borrowing freely inter alia from marches and zeimbekiko, and features ironic touches in both its orchestration (a trombone mimicking the singer's phrases) and musical subjects (a fleeting reference to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake!).
Dimitris Papadimitriou wrote the music for the National Theatre of Greece production of The Birds directed by Kostas Tsianos in 1999. Opting for a musical setting with a more unitary style, the composer provides instruments and voices with sonorous phrases, antiphonal sections and a marked lyricism. The rendering of birdsong provides opportunities for a series of ornate solos.