The Athens & Epidaurus Festival will be remaining faithful to its public in 2020, presenting a rich program despite the unprecedented circumstances, Artistic Director Katerina Evangelatos recently declared in a video on the festival’s YouTube channel.
The festival, Evangelatos said, will be “actively supporting Greek artists, who are going through a particularly rough period, while giving local and international audiences the opportunity to watch large-scale performances and concerts at our most iconic monuments.”
This special edition of the festival, whose program has now been finalized, will include 17 music, theater, and opera productions involving around 300 artists; these will be staged at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, the Little Theater of Ancient Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, all open-air venues.
The program includes productions by the Athens & Epidaurus Festival itself, as well as co-productions created in collaboration with state-run cultural bodies. All will, of course, be staged in accordance with the new measures on public performances to limit the danger from Covid-19.
While the fact that the festival will be going ahead at all is cause for celebration among its devout fans, the final program is a pared back version of that originally planned.
“The festival program we originally announced on March 30, with cautious optimism in the face of the pandemic, will not take place as planned,” Evangelatos said. “For all of us here at the festival, the forced cancellation of dozens of wonderful shows and collaborations with significant artists was truly painful. We had scheduled over 70 events, invited creative teams from 14 countries, and collaborated with approximately 1,400 artists on events to be held in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues.”
In the same video, the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni said, “The pandemic has forced us to change our ways. This year, we’ll have a special version of the festival. We have the utmost faith in the artistic directors of our institutions.
“Katerina Evangelatos, with her talent, insight and work ethic, has succeeded in offering us a festival that will be different, but nevertheless, of high quality. The theaters at Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus will host our national cultural institutions and offer us all a summer of live art. Congratulations to Katerina Evangelatos and her team, the festival’s board of directors and the artists who have brought an end to this summer’s cultural drought.”
FRAGMENT of a Festival
The festival will begin with an unconventional project, a collaboration with the arts organization NEON to create an exhibition examining on the link between artistic creation and the performing arts; the undertaking will present the iconic Odeon of Herodes Atticus in a new light.
Speaking of the festival as a whole, Evangelatos said: “This program is not the total sum of our efforts. Rather, it is a small but powerful fragment that will bravely unfold on our theater stages to remind us that art is vital, and that the festival will only be whole again when it will be able to embrace all the artists originally included in this year’s program, along with others added to next summer’s program, when the Pireos 260 venue, which is the heart of the contemporary performing arts scene, will be open again.”
For this reason. this year’s festival will be subtitled “YPOSYNOLO – FRAGMENT.”
Evangelatos went on to explain that the shows that won’t be presented this year are already being scheduled for an enriched “20-21” edition of the festival, where the public will have the opportunity to enjoy a special program, replete with new creations and co-productions, to celebrate the institution’s 65th anniversary.
“The beginning, or prologue, if you will, of that celebration, starts this year,” she said. “A second set of special events is due to take place later in 2020, followed, of course, by our 2021 summer program.”
See the lineup of shows and performances below; to download the full program click here.
This article was first published in Greek by kathimerini.gr