Xydakis interprets Sophocles

Composer Nikos Xydakis’s latest work is called «Laments of Women: Sophocles’ Heroines,» and features three esteemed stage actresses: Lydia Fotopoulou, Olia Lazaridou and Aneza Papadopoulou. Though the actresses imbue the work with a strong sense of the theatrical, Xydakis told Kathimerini that his latest work, which will premiere at the Little Theater of Epidaurus this Friday, with a second performance lined up for the following night, is still «clearly a musical project.» Besides the aforementioned acting trio, the work also features Xydakis and the popular vocalist Eleftheria Arvanitaki in singing roles, with musical backing provided by the Camerata – Orchestra of the Friends of Music, conducted by Nikos Platyrachos, as well as several of Xydakis’s regular musicians. Xydakis based the music on the writing of poet Dionysis Kapsalis, which combines original material, his translations of Sophocles, as well as excerpts of text by the ancient Greek dramatist. Everything is based on five of Sophocles’ heroines, and their laments for loved ones. «Apart from Eleftheria [Arvanitaki], we selected actresses for the work’s interpretation, because they have a closer relationship with theatrical text,» Xydakis explained. «Here, though, they are presented as vocalists, even though there are some small prose parts among the five monodies that make up the project. Apart from that, there’s nothing more theatrical about this. And there’s no dance either. However, before the work begins, a dancer, Marianna Kavalieratou, makes a brief appearance to provide tone and initial direction. Nothing else. It’s clearly a musical project,» he added. Xydakis noted that the project’s five monodies, performed as laments, were not all dirges. «These are not just dirges. These women possess an inner strength and portray life in general,» he said. A project of musical nature, «Laments of Women: Sophocles’ Heroines» may not boast action or development in its plot. Xydakis, however, contended that the project possesses a «musical plot.» «There is development through musical means, until it gets to Antigone,» said Xydakis. «This [musical development] is helped greatly by the interludes, the orchestral parts between monodies, which are in adagio mood and more serene following the laments… It’s like this music is traveling both in time and places. There is also a sense of loss here.»  When asked whether he believed it was necessary to use a symphony orchestra for this project, Xydakis said he felt the need for a «built-up sound,» as well as a «nostalgic feel.» «I can say that I have also worked this music from a directorial perspective, and, for this, felt the need for a musical ensemble that could respond to various things,» he said. Besides the Camerata, the project’s musical lineup includes four soloists, who each precede the work’s monodies. Costas Tsioulakis, on piano, leads the way for Tecmessa, Panos Dimitrakopoulos, on kanonaki, precedes the monody for Electra, Vassilis Ketentzoglou, on guitar, opens for Jocasta, and Dimitris Hountis, on saxophone, precedes Antigone.