CULTURE

Festive songs from ancient comedies at the Herod Atticus

Composer Christos Leondis has returned to the music he has written over the years for productions of Aristophanic comedies to compile the first part of the «Swallows’ Delight» program he is presenting at the Herod Atticus Theater this evening, in the context of the ongoing Athens Festival. The second part of the evening will contain, according to the composer, «joyous songs» that have stood out and gained popular appeal over his 40-year career. Leondis and the rest of the production’s cast have promised a program full of light-hearted, fun music. The artists who are participating in the concert are a good guarantee of that: Constantinos Rigos was put in charge of direction and choreography of the Aristophanic motifs, a task he found easy considering the liveliness of Leondis’s music. Literature professor and writer Giorgis Giatromanolakis has penned the narratives that will be heard in between the performance’s various scenes, and which will be read by popular actor and television game show presenter Spyros Papadopoulos. The songs being presented are from productions of «The Acharnians,» «The Wasps,» «The Knights,» «Plutus» and «Peace.» «I have written the music for 11 comedies,» said Leondis at a recent press conference. «My ambition is to write music for all of Aristophanes’ plays.» In this performance, continued the composer, «the motifs and rhythms, the songs, the dances, the tones of the music succeed one another in such a way that each of the comedies come together to compose a single unit, with alternating singers and motifs. The ballet also lends the songs a new dimension and together with the choir they form one big company, like in antiquity.» The second part of the program, which revisits Leondis’s past work, will be performed by singers Dimitris Mitropanos, Manolis Mitsias, Yiannis Koutras, Maria Soultatou, Doros Demosthenous, Ioanna Forti and Petros Damoulis. Songs that will be performed include those written by Leondis or by other lyric writers in cooperation with Leondis for the music. There are also songs based on the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, Manos Eleftheriou, Costas Vrivos and Lefteris Papadopoulos. Many of the pieces are broadly known by Greeks and still hold popular appeal. This part is meant to give the evening an even more festive feel, inviting the public to revisit familiar tunes or to simply share the happy melodies. Tickets and information on the performance are available from the Hellenic Festival box office at 39 Panepistimiou (tel 210.928.2900) or from the Herod Atticus Theater itself, located on the Dionyssiou Areopagitou pedestrian street, near the Acropolis metro station.