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National Gallery in Prague – Veletržní Palace (Národní galerie v Praze – Veletržní palác), Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7 - Holešovice, 170 00



5. 11. 2017

Xenakis' Oresteia somewhat defies genre classification: far from a mere setting of Aeschylus' trilogy to music, it offers Xenakis' re-imagination of Greek drama and a highly original take on the classical text.

Conjectures and fragmentary descriptions that form our idea of the way classical Greek drama was staged provided a basis on which the composer built a work that juxtaposed avant-garde and archaic methods of composition, quantitative-verse choir declamation with engrossing rhythmical complexity, inspiration drawn from Japanese ritual theatre with a virtuoso baritone solo, and demanding percussion accompaniment. Singing and dancing combine with instrumental music to form a dark spectacle full of raw energy. The greater part of the work dates back to mid-1960s, but Xenakis returned to Oresteia in the late '80s/early '90s to compose two additional sections. Oresteia can, therefore, be understood not just as a synthesis of the above-mentioned elements and sources of inspiration, but also as a record of almost three decades of the composer's artistic development.

author: Iannis Xenakis

director: Jiří Nekvasil

conductor: Petr Kotík

cast: Holger Falk, Jan Vlas and Tamás Schlanger.

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Primary event

  • Opera 2017

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