Highlights of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2020

Highlights of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2020


The Athens & Epidaurus Festival this year might not have the rich repertoire that was originally planned, but it still retains its promise of a culture-soaked summer. Highlights to mark your calendar.

J’ai des yeux à la place des oreilles

Francis Poulenc

WHEN: 07-08/08 at 9:30 pm

WHERE: Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

One of the most heartrending works ever composed about the end of romantic love and the despair of being left, Francis Poulenc’s one-act opera, based on Cocteau’s La voix humaine (The Human Voice) will be presented for the first time at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, in a bold directorial concept by Maria Panourgia. Five dancers/actors, each shut up inside his or her own telephone box, round up a cast led by soprano Myrsini Margariti, as fellow-travellers throughout the heroine’s anguish and dreams. With Greek and English surtitles.

Photo by Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

Mihalis Kalkanis Group

featuring Haig Yazdjian and Jannis Anastasakis

WHEN: 24- 25/07 at 9:30 pm

WHERE: Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

Contrabassist Mihalis Kalkanis stands out among the new generation of Greek jazz musicians. A risk-taking creative artist and composer, Kalkanis fuses electronic music with traditional songs of his grandmother’s generation, doing field recordings in religious ceremonies of immigrants, and delivering a fusion of sounds in his album World Echoes in Athens. In this concert at the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, he collaborates with Syria-born, Armenian oud virtuoso Haig Yazdjian and avant-garde master of electric guitar Jannis Anastasakis to create a soundscape where jazz, ambient, traditional, world music, psychedelia, noise, melodies and electronic are woven together to give birth to something altogether fresh.


A Tribute to Thanos Mikroutsikos

Set Up the Spotlight

WHEN: 15-16/07, 9 pm

WHERE: Odeon of Herodes Atticus

A tribute to Thanos Mikroutsikos, a major composer who defined the Greek music scene and revolutionised the musical landscape of the country through his various institutional roles, serving as Minister of Culture (1994-1996), founder and Director of the International Patras Festival and Artistic Director of the Athens & Epidaurus Festival (1998-1999). This year’s programme opens with a tribute concert dedicated to Mikroutsikos’ music written for theatre (1972-2019), specially commissioned by the Festival, an emotional musical journey through songs, choral parts, compositions for musicals and revues, all of which were beloved by audiences and went on to enjoy a life beyond the theatre stage; music originally written for theatre, for plays by Brecht, Lope de Vega, Euripides and Aristophanes, together with poems by Ritsos, Cavafy and Kavvadias set to music.

©ndp photo agency

Savina Yannatou – Primavera en Salonico


WHEN: 14-15/08 at 9:30 pm

WHERE: Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico are inspired by Ariel’s song in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to create Watersong, a musical performance featuring songs about water and desert, life and death, fertility, magic, desire, and purification. The artists are joined by Tunisian singer Lamia Bedioui, whose distinctive voice will transport the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus to the realm of the desert. The Arabic language and the Bedouin dialect will cross paths with Mediterranean languages. Oud, ney, violin, accordion, percussion and contrabass are the instruments accompanying the vocals, combining traditional influences with free improvisation. Songs about rain, the sea, rivers, tears, drops; the body immersed in the water; ultimately, our body.



Something is Blooming at Herodion

WHEN: 20-21/07 at 9 pm

WHERE: Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus will don the colours of a lovely Greek garden for this unique album release concert. Monika will premiere her new Greek-language album; an album she has been working on for more than ten years, taking care of it as if it were her own little garden. The fruit of this collective effort is now set to ‘bloom’ at the heart of the Odeon before a live audience. In the popular singer-songwriter’s own words: “There’s nothing better than feeling the memories of music you have loved in the past stirring inside you when you hear something fresh and brand-new”. Joined by her orchestra and a youth chorus, and using traditional instruments such as mandolin and harp, Monika takes us on a journey back in time and all the way to the present.

Photo credits: Stefanos_Papadopoulos

Rafi Music Theatre Company – Nova Melancholia – Michalis Siganidis

Il diluvio universale

WHEN: From 31/07 until 01/08 at 9pm

WHERE: Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

How does one sing about one’s desires and fears? To what extent are humans natural and to what extent are they spiritual? How does living with animals affect us? How much does it liberate us? Rafi, one of the most dynamic Greek music theatre companies, returns to the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, with Michelangelo Falvetti’s elegant Baroque oratorio Il diluvio universale (The Great Flood). Presented in Greece for the very first time, the oratorio of this provocative Sicilian priest caused a sensation when it was originally performed. Inspired by the Biblical story of the Great Flood, its protagonists are natural elements such as water, fire and air rather than Biblical figures. The directorial duo of Nova Melancholia evokes the sense of a true tempest on stage. Audiences will be carried away by a seductive blend of period instruments, oriental maqam and animal sounds, with virtuosos Michalis Siganidis and Harris Lambrakis improvising and sweeping us off our feet as if they were medieval troubadours.


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