a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Ever since Irene Papas took up the new role heading the three drama schools "City of the Scenic Arts" of Sagunto (Spain), the "Tor Vergata" of Rome (Italy) and the "To Skolion" of Athens (Greece), she has been organizing stagings of several classic Greek plays. And every time her longtime friend Vangelis has been kind enough to provide the music to accompany the performance. First in 2001 "Las Troyanas" was performed in Sagunto, in 2003 followed by "Ecuba" (together with "Le Troiane") performed in Rome. 2004 should have seen the final episode of a trilogy of Euripides-plays, with a performance of "Agamemnon" in Athens during the Olympic Games. Unfortunately this play was cancelled last minute....

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.


bulletDirected by Irene Papas
bulletAssistant director: Paolo Emilio Landi
bulletArt direction: Fulvio Ardone
bulletCostumes: Sofia Cocosalaki
bulletMusic: Vangelis
bulletMusic direction: Stefano Marcucci
bulletSound: Hubert Westkemper
bulletMovement tutelage: Aurelio Gatti
bulletLights design: Bruno Ciulli


bulletAntigone: Galatea Ranzi
bulletIsmene: Micol Pambieri
bulletCreon: Alessandro Haber
bulletGuard: Maurizio Donadoni
bulletHaemon: Roberto Salemi
bulletTeiresias: Maurizio Donadoni
bulletEscort: Davide Guidi
bulletMessenger: Francesco Biscione
bulletEurydice: Debora Lentini
bulletCoryphaei: Luca Arcangeli, Giuliano Brunazzi, Andrea Calbucci, Giuseppe Calcagno, Andrea Davi, Andrea Galata, Andrea Naso, Walter Palamenga, Francesco Polizzi, Giuseppe Provinzano, Antonio Reina, Marco Sabatino, Luigi Tabita, Emilio Torrisi
bulletChorus of the Elders: Luca Arcangeli, Giuliano Brunazzi, Andrea Calbucci, Giuseppe Calcagno, Andrea Davi, Andrea Galata, Andrea Naso, Walter Palamenga, Francesco Polizzi, Giuseppe Provinzano, Antonio Reina, Marco Sabatino, Luigi Tabita, Emilio Torrisi
bulletChorus of Women: Rita Abela, Stefania Bongiovanni, Simonetta Cartia, Tiziana D’Angelo, Laura Dell’Albani, Francesca Di Santo, Simona Gatto, Carmelinda Gentile, Angelica Marcucci, Gabriella Mazzone, Cristina Mirto, Tea Sammarti
bulletSoldiers: Tino Calabro, Michele Dell’Utri, Antonio Duronio, Leonardo Gambardella, Salvo Germano, Massimo Giustolisi, Massimiliano Inturri, Francesco Perciballi, Giordano Petri, Eugenio Santovito, Diego Savastano, Santo Amenta, Santi Campisi, Francesco Capanna, Alessandro Figura, Giuseppe Gionfriddo, Gianluca Latina, Gianfranco Principato, Santi Scollo, Giorgio Tarantello, Antonio Pisasale


The location to stage on of the classic Greek plays couldn't be more appropriate: the old Greek Theater in Syracuse originates from the 5th century B.C. and is still used every year for public performances.

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.