Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last night Irma and I went to see a stunning performance of Medea in the magnificent setting of the Greek Amphitheatre at Siracusa:

The Greeks would not have been able to look from the theatre to the trees, as they always had to have a clear view of the sea in case of invaders:

You will probably get a better idea of the scale of the theatre from these photos, which I took some years ago when I happened to be there while they were preparing for a performance:

What can I say? The setting was wonderful, the atmosphere fantastic and the acting superb: Elisabetta Pozzi as Medea gave the performance of a lifetime. The magic of the setting is that you are sitting where the Greeks sat as you listen to those words from thousands of years ago that still resonate today. I was reminded, last night , of the perfection of Greek drama, with its unities and subsequent economy of language, portraying , as it does, all the passions of man in such a short time.

As for Medea, I can understand jealousy: it really is Shakespeare's "green-eyed monster" and its intensity can lead to terrible deeds. Love, too, can be a kind of madness but one of the saddest lessons of this life is that once someone stops loving you, there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it. Of course, one could argue that if it ends, it wasn't love in the first place, for I do believe in Shakespeare's "ever-fixèd mark / That looks on tempests and is never shaken". Irma and I agreed that we could comprehend the wish for revenge, the desire to hurt the person who has hurt you, or the woman who has "taken him away" - only she didn't, because you cannot take away someone who doesn't want to go. But killing your own , or anyone's, children in revenge? This was beyond us . We went home having to remind ourselves that it was fiction!

"Love, when it is excessive,
brings man neither fame nor virtue.
But should Aphrodite reach you
with a gentle touch,
this is divine grace beyond compare."

Oh, and just to prove I was there:


Maria said...

The theater looks amazing....
I can't even imagine what it would be like to sit there and literally soak up all that!

Amazing I'm glad you have a fabulous time. You look wonderful!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Wow that looks amazing...Arni and I have sat there...just looking for my was brilliant :-)

Whispering Walls said...

Lucky you, WL! Medea is an amazing story - the extreme limits of passion driving one to insanity. The French had "crime passionel" as a valid defence for murder until the 1970s.

flutterby said...

How wonderful! Repair work was going on it the the theater when I was there two years ago so no performances were being offered. It is obviously a fantastic experience. I've only seen Medea once and that was in New York several years ago with Diana Rigg as Medea. One surprise, Medea is such a tragedy but there are some funny lines in it.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, M. You would love it! You are kind. Hi, Anne. Yes, brilliant. Hi, Flutterby. Diana Rigg must have been a wonderful Medea, too. Yes, there are some funny lines and these were much appreciated by Saturday's audience.

jmb said...

A most interesting post to me as I have only been in that theatre when nothing was happening. Amazing place and how fortunate you were to attend.

Liz Hinds said...

It must have been amazing.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. Yes, very fortunate as this was a spectacular production and performance. I've been once before to a performance but it wasn't as spellbinding as this. It certainly was, Liz.


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