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Category: 2021

ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes – The Operetta

ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes – The Operetta


  • Friday, July 2

    Curium Ancient Theatre

  • Saturday, July 3

    Curium Ancient Theatre

Performances start at

Please arrive at the theatre before 20:00


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The Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun and the Greek National Opera, present the extremely edgy and highly topical comedy of Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, in an original version of a contemporary, folk operetta in translation, libretto and music by Stamatis Kraounakis, directed by Marianna Calbari.

At a time of utter political and social decline, where corruption and inequality have exceeded all limits, women, at the initiative of Praxagora, decide to take radical action. Disguised as men, they manage to seize power and impose their political reforms, proposing a new regime where both property and sex are communal.  However, Praxagora’s revolutionary plan, although ideal in theory, shall prove to be utopian in practice and will be undermined by successive tragicomic situations.

Music, highlights both the political and the deeply poetic aspect of this Aristophanic comedy: a dreamy, transcendental element that Aristophanes so intricately entangles with the madness of his comic universe.


  • Translation-Libretto-Music

    Stamatis Kraounakis

  • Direction

    Marianna Calbari

  • Set/Costume design

    Christina Calbari

  • Choreography

    Thodoris Panas

  • Lighting design

    Stella Kaltsou

  • Director’s assistant

    Marilena Moschou

  • Set designer’s assistant

    Sophia Arvaniti-Florou

  • Production assistant

    Dionisis Christopoulos

  • Photography

    Stavros Habakis

Cast (in order of appearance):
  • Praxagora

    Sophia Filippidou

  • Chremes

    Christos Gerontidis

  • Young man

    Sakis Karathanasis

  • Herald

    Kostas Mpougiotis

  • Man/Third old lady

    Giorgos Stivanakis

  • Young girl/Woman herald

    Katerina Lipiridou

  • Sostrati/First old lady

    Ioanna Mavrea

  • Vlepyros/Second old lady

    Christophoros Stampoglis

  • Chrorus:

  • Tereza Kazitori,
    Sakis Karathanasis,
    Pina Kouloglou,
    Katerina Lipiridou,
    Ioanna Mavrea,
    Kostas Mpougiotis,
    Giorgos Stivanakis,
    Matilda Toumpourou

  • Musicians on stage

    Vaios Prapas (Guitar, bouzouki),
    Giorgos Tamiolakis (Cello, euphonium),
    Dimitris Andreadis (Keyboards)

  • Orchestration

    The composer, Stamatis Kraounakis, in collaboration with the band of musicians

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  • Director’s note

    How do we approach one of Aristophanes’ comedies today? How do we stage Ecclesiazusae, this brilliant, madcap, and at the same time, deeply melancholic political comedy today? I believe that whichever road we choose – and there are many – we must follow it “with our hearts”. This is the only condition Aristophanes seems to set.

    For a long time Stamatis Kraounakis has had the play in his own heart. And then came the assignment by Giorgos Koumentalis and the Greek National Opera with which the Greek Art Theatre is embarking for the first time in its history on an extremely interesting collaboration. This is the 16th production of the comedy by the Greek Art Theatre and the second staging of Ecclesiazusae after the 2005 Epidaurus Festival, translated by Yiannis Varveris and directed by Diagoras Chronopoulos. This is, however, the first time Ecclesiazusae will be staged as an operetta, and indeed in the popular form of the genre. Why operetta?

    To begin with, opera itself derives from the ancient drama. It was the theatrical genre that was created in the late 16thcentury by Florentine scholars who wanted to understand and revive the ancient Greek prosody, that is to say, the rhythm with which the words were spoken. Later on, a new type of opera appeared- in a shorter and simpler style and in a light and more comical character, part of which is in prose: the operetta. Therefore, if ancient comedy were to take on a musical form, that form could be none other than operetta. The term “popular” simply denotes our wish to createa production that will be loved by the audience in the same way that Aristophanes’ poetry is also “popular”.

    With regard to the performance itself, let us leave theory aside. In any case, theatre is action above all. And a matterfor the heart….

    “Hold fast, crazed heart, hold fast
    though they may want you to beat your last.
    Keep firm hold of the beauty of youth,
    it will guide you through life’s great adventure”.
    (Parabasis – «Song of homecoming», music-lyrics: Stamatis Karaounakis)

    Marianna Calbari


    The Greek Art Theatre, was founded in 1942 by Karolos Koun and his students and has been active continuously since then producing rich artistic and educational work in both its scenes (Ypogeio – year of establishment 1954 and Frynichou – founded in 1985), as well as in his Drama School (founded 1942).In the modern era, the Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun, presents a number of artistic productions and co-productions each year with private and sometimes public organizations and strives to maintain a common spirit, common line and ethos.

    The philosophy that Koun inherited us: faith in an ensemble theater, the power of collectivity, the choice of important texts both classical and contemporary, the search for new ways and new forces of expression in art, the emergence of modern Greek playwright, the research, the connection of the theater with the society. At the same time, through a multitude of parallel actions, we seek to link the past with the present while at the same time paving the way for the future.


    The Greek National Opera (GNO) was founded in 1940, a few months before Italy declared war on Greece. The company had been preceded by a 150-year history of a flourishing opera tradition on the Ionian Islands and half a century of activity by the Hellenic Melodrama, an opera company which ran in various forms from 1888 to 1938. From the outset, the GNO repertory comprised operas, operettas and ballets. During the past decade, in response to current demands, the GNO has developed a Children’s Stage to develop future friends of opera. It also encourages modern works by commissioning new operas to contemporary composers. In this way the repertory of the GNO covers four centuries of opera from Monteverdi to contemporary Greek composers. The opera company operated initially as part of the National Theatre and gave performances in its historic neoclassical building on central Aghiou Constantinou Street, designed by the famous German architect Ernst Ziller.

    In 1944 the company became a state-run corporation and was officially named Greek National Opera. Its first production in the old Olympia Theatre at Academias Street was Rhea, a significant opera by Greek composer Spyros Samaras. In 1946 the opera ensemble became an independent company, giving daily performances as of 1949 at the Metropolitan summer venue, and at the Kyveli Theatre during the rest of the season. In 1950 the government released a bill providing for the foundation of a ballet school within the GNO. In 1958 the newly-built Olympia Theatre was inaugurated with Verdi’s Aida.

    Between 1959 and 1964 the repertory grew apace, with at least twenty productions every season. A total of almost thirty operas were introduced to the Greek audience for the first time. The company generously supported works by Greek composers, and summer productions were staged at the Herodes Atticus Odeon as well as at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus starring Maria Callas, who many years before had made her professional debut as Maria Kalogeropoulou with the GNO. The company’s steady artistic development was interrupted by the military coup of 21 April 1967.

    In 1974, when democracy was reinstated, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture assumed responsibility for the company. The notorious ‘certificate of political affiliation’, which had been necessary for all staff both administrative and artistic since the company’s foundation, was abolished and the organization of the company became more democratic generally, while its repertory was expanded. In the years that followed, some of the most distinguished personalities of Greek music have been at the helm of the GNO, expanding and improving the company’s activities, particularly by introducing new works and promoting the company internationally. Gradually the GNO developed its co-production policy, so that nowadays it co-produces operas with some of the world’s leading opera houses. Since 1994, the GNO has been a private, state-funded organization.

    In March 2017, the Greek National Opera relocated at its new premises at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which constitutes a donation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to the Greek state. GNO’s presents its artistic programme in its two venues at the SNFCC: the Stavros Niarchos Hall and the Alternative Stage. Every summer, the GNO presents summer productions at the open-air theater Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

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MEDEA by Euripides

MEDEA by Euripides


  • Wednesday, July 21

    “Skali” Amphitheatre

  • Thursday, July 22

    “Skali” Amphitheatre

    “Skali” Amphitheatre

  • Saturday, July 24

    Curium Ancient Theatre

Performances start at

Please arrive at the theatre before 20:15



Euripides’s masterpiece, Medea, which deals with the last act of the passionate relationship between Jason and Medea, is this year’s Cypriot production in the Festival, directed by Aliki Danezi Knutsen. Seven actresses, in a unique stage setting guided by speech and sound, retrieve and reconstruct the dark and fierce forms of Euripides’ tragedy.

The barbarian, the foreigner, the witch, the woman; a multidimensional character with uncontrollable emotions, complex and fascinating, Medea struggles with love, motherhood, betrayal, irrationality and vengeful fury.

Medea is a tragedy of passion and conflict between logic and existential irrationality, where Euripides elaborately dissects the human soul and decodes his heroes’ reactions when they reach their limits.


  • Translation

    Minos Volanakis

  • Direction

    Aliki Danezi Knutsen

  • Set design

    Natasa Chrysafini

  • Costume design

    Antreas Antoniou

  • Lighting design

    Aliki Danezi Knutsen

  • Music

    Stefanos Skoulikaris, Nikos Paterakis

  • Movement

    Panaγiotis Tofi

  • Director’s assistant

    Stratos Dalamagkos

  • Production management

    Stephanie Polykarpou


  • Medea

    Stela Fyrogeni

  • Jason

    Elena Kallinikou

  • Nurse

    Annie Khoury

  • Tutor

    Ivie Nicolaidou

  • Creon

    Antria Zeniou

  • Aegeus

    Polyxenie Savva

  • Messenger

    Antonia Charalambous

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  • Stela Fyrogeni

  • Director’s note

    A song am I! And the boys a dreadful chorus!
    Apollo, Sun of Sounds, masculine Sun,
    why didn’t you give me the lyre!
    A shrill psalm about men’s achievements
    would resonate from female mouths.
    For men, women, whatever Time reveals,
    ALL COMES TO LIGHT! And may the worthy be victorious!
    Now honor to the women’s race.”

    (Medea, translated by Minos Volanakis)


    There are many readings of Medea. The same goes for my readings of this amazing play that I’ve always desired to direct. In the particular place and time we live, where so much has shifted inside and around us and is still changing, my present reading has a special, peculiar character. When Medea finds out that Jason is leaving her, extreme, wild and primitive feelings overpower her and she instinctively utters the idea for her heinous act. Her journey through the play can be seen as a path to reconciliation with her wild nature and, despite the tragic magnitude of the event, a path to acceptance.

    Her soul travels through the paths of the mind.
    Her body labors through the anger of her soul.
    Medea gets to know the pain of rejection and asks for salvation – Jason has been unjust to her – her erotic passion turns into rage.
    She wants to cut every bond, to get revenge, to be saved. And she utters the unutterable:
    “I will kill my children.”
    Black tears.
    And male hormones.
    The men that decide for Medea’s future are exiled.
    Her journey is a struggle to rediscover sanity.
    It’s a fight to abandon society.
    The female breath rises through masculine sweat.
    From violent emotional expression to the rhythmic beat of the plan.

    Aliki Danezi Knutsen


    Roads and Oranges Film Productions was founded in 1995. The production company has, with its films and documentaries, participated in international festivals and has received awards and distinctions. It has also been funded by international as well as Greek and Cypriot cinema organisations.

    In theatre, the company has co-produced performances that have been staged in important theatres in Greece and Cyprus and in international festivals like the Athens Epidaurus Festival, the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama and Kypria International Festival, being commercially and artistically acclaimed.

    Among the theatrical activity of the company, there are memorable productions such as Αgamemnon by Aeschylus, directed by Cezaris Grauzinis (Athens Epidaurus Festival, 2018 International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama et al.), and also Caligula by Albert Camus, directed by Aliki Danezi Knutsen (Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, Thessaloniki Concert Hall, Kypria International Festival 2017).

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THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes

THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes


  • Friday, July 16

    Curium Ancient Theatre

  • Saturday, July 17

    Curium Ancient Theatre

Performances start at

Please arrive at the theatre before 20:00


Book now

The National Theatre of Greece returns to the Festival eleven years later with Aristophanes’ comedy The Knights, directed by the distinguished choreographer and director Konstantinos Rigos and featuring an outstanding cast.

The main character, Paphlagonian, is inspired by Cleon, the politician who ruled Athens in the wake of Pericles’ death and the Athenians’ triumphant victory over the Spartans in Pylos (425 BC). Through his portrayal of Cleon, Aristophanes launches a scathing attack on corrupt politicians and demagogues who use power for their own ends. The hilarious plot leads to a bitter conclusion: if wickedness, gumption and vulgarity are the qualities of a politician then the most skilful in these shall always prevail on the political arena…

The Knights, one of the poet’s most “political” comedies, allegorical and full of symbolisms, contemporary as ever, scolds the mismanagement and misconduct of power that led to decline, misery and decay and warns the citizens of every era about the dangers lurking in the foundations of the Republic.

With English surtitles
  • Translation

    Sotiris Kakisis

  • Direction-Choreography

    Konstantinos Rigos

  • Music

    Ted Regklis

  • Set design

    Konstantinos Rigos, Mary Tsangari

  • Costume design

    Natassa Dimitriou

  • Lighting design

    Christos Tziogkas

  • Associate choreographer

    Markella Manoliadi

  • Director’s assistant

    Angelos Panagopoulos

  • Music coach

    Melina Peonidou

  • Second Director’s assistant

    Christina Stefanidi

  • Set designer’s assistant

    Alegia Papageorgiou

  • Costume designer’s assistants

    Alisa Boulat, Katerina Kostaki

  • Dramaturg

    Eva Saraga

Cast (in alphabetical order):

  • Sausage seller

    Konstantinos Avarikiotis

  • Demos

    Stelios Iakovidis

  • Cleon

    Kostas Koklas

  • Demosthenes

    Panos Mouzourakis

  • Nicias

    Konstantinos Plemmenos

  • Coryphaeus

    Konstantinos Bibis (ukulele),
    Stefania Goulioti,
    Giannis Harisis

  • Chorus

    Paris Alexandropoulos,
    Vassilis Boutsikos (guitar),
    Thanos Grivas (guitar),
    Constantinos Kaikis,
    Giannis Karababas (guitar),
    Alkiviadis Maggonas (clarinet),
    Giorgos Paterakis (guitar),
    Konstantinos Plemmenos,
    Periklis Siountas (bayan),
    Giorgos Skarlatos (euphonium),
    Antonis Stamopoulos (guitar),
    Alexandros Vardaxoglou,
    Panos Zygouros (melodica)

  • Musician on stage

     Laertis Malkotsis (saxophone)

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  • Director’s note

    Nobles or followers? Invaders or tourists? Victims or aggressors? The Knights are an enigma, but it is a play that is now more topical than ever, in this post-truth era of fake news and virtual reality.

    It is a comedy that reaches beyond Aristophanes’ own time into a future only now taking shape. The backdrop to it is made up of a host of rabble-rousing politicians, a disoriented democracy, indifference to the well-being of the body politic, slander, poverty, a war that looks as if it will never end, and the fear of a new outbreak of an epidemic that has already left thousands of dead.

    With their warlike appearance, the Knights conspire with Aristophanes to topple those in power in a frightened and blighted city. In the battle between the two toxic politicians, the playwright presents humanity as a necessary element of power which is trampled beneath the extreme methods employed by his protagonists.

    Konstantinos Rigos


    Greece’s first state theatre company was the Royal Theatre, which was founded in 1901 and operated until 1908. It was reestablished under the name National Theatre in 1930 and opened for the public in March 1932. The National Theatre of Greece, during its 90 years of existence, has succeeded in creating a powerful theatrical tradition.

    The repertory of the National Theatre aims at polyphony, promoting a dialogue between tradition, present and future. The revival of Ancient Greek Drama remains a key area of interest for the National Theatre in an effort to combine respect for tradition with new trends. In 1938 the National Theatre of Greece performed its first open-air production of ancient drama, Sophocles’ Electra; the first performance after centuries at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. In 1955 the NTG established the Festival of Epidaurus.

    Today, there are six venues in the National Theatre in Ziller Building, in Rex Theatre and the School of Athens – Irene Papas (open-air venue). The National Theatre is always open to collaborations with theatres and artists – tours, joint productions with major theatres abroad, participation in international festivals, educational programs, invitations to important contemporary artists; these are all part of the effort to broaden an already established network. Since 2009 the NTG has also been a member of the European Theatre’s Union.

    The Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Greece is the dramaturg – translator Erie Kyrgia.


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