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Medea di Verona

[ Author Adrian Trasca ]

[ From category THE Articles ]
[ Subcategory OperaRail 2014 ]
[ Subcategory II Arena din Verona ]
[ Translator Cornelia Iordache ]
[ Article date: 2014-08-13 ]
[ From city Verona ]
[ Country Italia ]

[ Link images: http://www.operanationala.ro/poze/poze.php?id_categ=6&nume_categ=verona---medea ]

Romna English Italiana

Medea di Verona

 1433 This article may at some point seem dummy. Although it is long, I recommend you read it to the end, you may change your opinion. :-)

The Roman Theatre from Verona is one of the places that I have not exploited enough. I knew that there mount theater plays but, given the language barrier -at that time I did not know Italian at all and I still do not know it well enough to "adventure" myself to see a play in that language - I planed to go there when my Italian knowledge would be good enough to be able to watch a play from head to toe. Which was (or is) likely to never happen. Therefore, when I heard that Fondazione Arena di Verona was staging a show there, I did not hesitate, although it was ballet. No, it`s not that I do not like ballet, I just prefer opera. Somehow this requirement of mine was going to be satisfied too.

The interior of The Roman Theatre from Verona was not as spectacular as I expected. Verona is a wonderful city and some people (at least some Romanians) do not put it on their landmark list, which is a big mistake. And because Verona is such a beautiful city, I expected the Roman Theatre to be spectacular too. Well, it`s not! It`s not ugly, so to speak, but it is nothing compared to, for example, the Roman Theatre from Plovdiv, where they preserved some columns and structures that actually carry you into the atmosphere of thousands of years ago.


Plot

On stage, a big boat on (my) left.
Near boat, a girl blindfolded with a red scarf. She wears a white cloth with red stains on chest.
Some men with masks come and push her to the boat.
She undresses and remains in black, they run out of the scene.

Music has words in Greek or Russian and is slightly scary. And it`s without orchestra.

There appears a man dressed in black with a crown. He dances a little, then hurls the crown.
He talks to her - voices in speakers. He`s angry.

You hear the water.

He leaves upset.
On stage there are 11 girls dancing. There comes another man that looks sexier. :-) He talks to her too. The girl with mask / red scarf watches them from above. The second guy leaves, the girl with mask talks to her.

The second guy comes back and drags a thick rope like a towrope. She crochets something red. He opens her legs - sex? - she still crochets!
He goes away and takes the rope with him.

A woman dressed in shiny orange comes. She talks to her.
There come two other guys and they talk and dance with the woman in orange. She, the main character, looks at them near the boat. She suffers.

They leave. She has two grain bowls that she pours from one to another. The music is slower.

There appears the 11 girls, then the bitch in orange. Now, she wears skin colored latex and only an orange scarf.

Three guys with masks come. Then the first guy who fights them. He sees the bitch and dances with her. The stage is getting empty.

She and the second guy come, then the girl with the mask.

The play is a good opera. And it has translation too.

The girl with red mask dances. Other three men with masks dance with her (the main character). The first guy and the bitch dance. The bitch chokes and dies. Then, he dies too.

The second and the third man begin to fight. The third stops the second one to get to her.
The second one falls, the third dances with her. The second man suffers. He overturns the boat. Then he fights again the third one for her, but he loses again. The third man drags him on the floor, pulling him out of the scene.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the 11 girls entered the scene, each holding two bowls in their hands. She`s on the ground floor, dancing and singing slowly.

The girl with scarf appears and puts on the initial dress, the white one with red stains on chest, then leaves the scene through the back. The 11 girls pour the rice from bowls behind her.
The end. She puts her hands on her head.

Round of applause.


These are my notes from the show, "polished up" a little later. :-) Now let`s see what actually happened:

Medea refers to the tragedy "Medea" written in 431 BC by the tragic Greek poet Euripides, who lived between 480-406 BC and which Aristotle called "tragic poet par excellence". (Good this Wikipedia! :-) By the way - I don`t consider it`s a shame to get informed and inform- I extract something from there, an interesting idea especially for ladies, given the fact that it is related to Mede (e) a: Euripides was the first playwright concerned to present the feminine psychology in various shades and situations.

"Medea" of the Greek author Mikis Theodorakis is a nice show. But, and I`m sorry to say this, I did not find it enough exploited. More precisely, recalling what I wrote above, the music has many arias, but they were played through the speakers. I think it would have been much better if the arias had been sung "live", the effect would certainly have been better. Also, another positive effect would have been obtained if there had been a translation, at least in Italian. And the absence of the orchestra is an aspect that diminishes a lot from the charm of a "live" show, any explanations are useless, it is clear why.

The author, Mikis Theodorakis, is the soundtrack composer of the movie "Zorba the Greek" starring the equally famous actor, Anthony Quinn. It is the Greek composer`s second play mounted at Arena di Verona, after "Zorba" in 1988. Moreover, "Medea" was composed shortly after this year, during 1988-1990, the world premiere taking place in Bilbao in 1991 but as opera, as I considered too that it would have been better played!

I read several versions of Medea. I vaguely remembered it from my childhood, but I remembered well the Argonauts and their captain, Jason. The summary of the plot, which is important for the show, is the following: Jason is sent to Colchis in eastern Black Sea to take the Golden Fleece and succeeds only with the help of King Colchis` daughter, the witch Medea. He falls in love with her and takes her in his country, in Corinth, Greece. But, not being a Greek woman, Medea is not accepted in society and is regarded as a mistress and her two children, as bastards. Jason leaves her and intends to marry Creuse (or Glauce, according to some sources), the daughter of King Creon of Corinth. Medea sends to Glauce a coat as wedding gift that she puts on, but it was poisoned and kills her, as well as her father, the king, who rushed to rescue her. Medea kills her children with Jason, then marries Aegeus, king of Athens, from which the name Aegean Sea.

The subject of "Medea" by Euripides and the work of Mikis (Michael) Theodorakis begins when Jason wants to leave Medea. Who knew the subject might have been amused by my notes above. Or he tried to identify the characters and actions based on them, as I did. I admit it was a very interesting exercise that I recommend. But who does not have the patience to do that, I invite him/her to continue reading what I have deduced. Between square brackets, there are deductions / explanations that I have found.

On stage, a big boat on (my) left. [Argo, the ship once led by Jason.]
Near boat, a girl blindfolded with a red scarf. [Justice, blindfolded for impartiality, as in all Greek representations.] And she. [Medea] Dressed in a white coat with red spots on chest. [Blood]

Some men with masks come and push her to the boat. [Society of Corinth that does not accept her and pushes her to the ship to which she came, in order to leave.]
She undresses, remains in black, they run out of the scene. [Medea was a witch that reveals herself in black, they run away scared of her powers.]

Music has words in Greek and is slightly scary. And it`s without orchestra. [I assume there were words in Greek because of the subject, and of the author, who is Greek. Music has a slightly frightening tone, it`s not recommended to hear it behind you at night, silently, on a dark street. :-) ]

There appears one man dressed in black with a crown. [Creon, King of Corinth.] He dances a little, then hurls the crown.
He talks to her. [He asks her to leave.] He`s upset. [Worried about her powers.]

You hear a water.

He leaves upset.
On stage, there are 11 girls dancing. On scene, there comes another man [Jason! ] that looks sexier. :-) [that is why Medea fell in love with him and helped him to steal the Golden Fleece right from her father! ] He speaks to her too. The girl with mask [Justice] looks them from above. The second man [Jason] leaves, the girl with mask talks to her.

The second man [Jason] comes back and drags after him a thick rope like a towrope. [It`s probably from Argo, the ship that they both came with in Corinth.] She crochets something red. He opens her legs - sex? [Yup! ] - she continues to crochet!
He leaves and takes the rope with him.

There comes one woman dressed in shiny orange. [Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth, which Jason plans to marry with.] He talks to her.
Other two men come and start to talk and dance with the woman in orange. [Her children.] She [Medea] looks them near the boat. She suffers. [Her children`s dance with Jason`s future wife probably symbolizes that her sons are willing to accept her as their father`s wife, another possible reason for Medea to kill them later.]

They leave. She has two bowls of grain that she pours from one to another. The music is slower. [Resignation to her fate? ]

The 11 girls appear, then the bitch in orange. Now, she wears skin colored latex and only an orange scarf.
There come three men with masks. [I do not know who they are.] Then, the first man [king of Corinth, Glauce`s father], who fights them. He sees the bitch and dances with her. [In ballet, dance also means chatting. :-) ] The scene is getting empty.

She and the second man [Jason] come, then the girl with the mask [Justice].
The play is good as opera. And it has translation too. [The play IS OPERA! I do not know why it has been mounted only as ballet.]

The girl with red mask dances. Three other men with masks dance with her (the main character). The first man [the king] and the bitch [his daughter] dance. The bitch chokes and dies. [she has dressed the poisoned coat.] Then, he dies too. [it was sufficiently to touch the coat to kill you.]

The second and the third man are fighting. The third one stops the second one to get to her. ["The third" is Aegeus, king of Athens, with whom Medea will marry. "The second" one is Jason.]
The second man falls, the third one dances with her. The second one suffers. The boat overturns. Then he fights again the third one for her, but he loses again. The third guy drags him on the floor, pulling him out of the scene.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the 11 girls entered the scene, each of them holding two bowls in their hands. She`s down, dancing and singing slowly.

The girl with scarf appears and puts on the initial dress, the white one with red stains on chest, then leaves the scene through the back. [The children were killed, destiny was fulfilled, she exits the stage.] The 11 girls pour the rice from bowls behind her.

The end. She puts her hands on her head.

Round of applause.


PS: I have read with the help of dictionary, of course, an article in Italian about Medea. They were talking about innovativa dimensione di contemporaneita, genuina vitalita, immagine plastiche e atmosfere poetiche etc. (I have especially chosen expressions that are clear and do not require translation in Romanian.) I could write like that too. The author has created a music of an achillian vigor, futuristic choreographic vision worthy of the next century, emotional levitated dances carrying the spectator into the sphere of Greek-romantic abyss etc, but this is not my purpose, to show you that I can invent unassailable expressions because they are unanimous accepted or pompous and theoretically non-contiguous words. Needless to say I can look up words in dictionary... - let me see:-) - words full of emphasis to show that I am a big philosocommentatorocritic. (Here, that`s not in the dictionary! :-) ) ) )

My goal is to make the reader feel a little of what I felt. And eventually - and this would be a huge accomplishment for me - to make you go and see a show when you have the chance or even create such an occasion.

Unpompous regards! :-)


Distribution
Music: Mikis Theodorakis
Choreography: Renato Zanella - Veronese, as organizers keep emphasizing:-)


(Article translated by Cornelia Iordache)

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