Mikis Theodorakis’s opera «Lysistrata» is on at Epidaurus this Saturday, weather permitting. The work is inspired by Aristophanes’ play of the same name, and the composer has striven to keep to the spirit of the original. His innovations include the character of the Poet, played by Giorgos Dalaras. Other scenes have been adapted to suit a musical performance. The production premiered in April at the Athens Concert Hall, has since appeared at Thessaloniki Concert Hall and now director Giorgos Michailidis has adapted it to suit the space of the ancient outdoor theater at Epidaurus. At a press conference yesterday, Michailidis reacted to criticism about the cost of the production. «The critics can say what they like about our work,» he said, «but scandals are another matter. We have contracts for specific amounts and anyone can see them.» He explained that opera is a luxury: «What with 180 singers, 90 members of the orchestra and other technical support and staff, we took 300 people to Thessaloniki to stage the production. But the tickets are expensive to help cover that.» Theodorakis emphasized the timeless quality of Aristophanes’ work: «His jokes are still funny, 2,500 years later. And they’re absolutely Greek.» Praising the cast, all of whom have successful careers abroad, the composer expressed the hope that they would take Greek heroes into the international opera repertoire. Daphne Evangelatou plays Lysistrata and Ludmila Semciuk is Cleonice. Other performers include Marina Vouloyianni, Alexandra Papatziakou, Medea Iasonidou, Dimitris Kavrakos, Zachos Terzakis, Dimitris Tiliakos and Christoforos Stampoglis. The choir and orchestra of the National Opera are directed by Nikos Tsouchlos. The sets are by Dionysis Fotopoulos, costumes by Giorgos Gavalas, and choreography by Vangelio Ieronymaki. The Athens Concert Hall and the National Opera have collaborated on this production as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Mikis Theodorakis’ «Lysistrata,» at the Epidaurus Ancient Theater, tel 07530.22026, on Saturday. For ticket purchases, visit the Athens Festival box office at 39 Panepistimiou Street, tel 010.322.1459.