The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is the city’s annual arts festival and a highlight of the Greek summer calendar. With a legacy that spans more than sixty years, today it incorporates a full programme of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Performances at the two ancient theatres of the Odeon Herodes Atticus and the ancient theatre of Epidaurus are highlights of the festival. Both are famous for their exemplary acoustics and many of the great works of classical playwrights, such as Sophocles, premiered at the Epidaurus theatre in ancient times.
The full 2019 programme at ancient Epidaurus has been announced and begins in June. Audiences can expect more international performers, visiting directors and co-productions with Greek theatre companies, which will provide for a wider perspective and reinterpretation of ancient Greek texts. Highlights include Oedipus based on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex by the acclaimed American theatre director Robert Wilson on June 21 & 22. Kathryn Hunter, the acclaimed USA-born British-Greek actress, will portray the title role in Prometheus Bound on August 9 & 10.
As we eagerly await the schedule for the Odeon of Herodes Atticus that lies beneath the slopes of the Acropolis, two performances have been confirmed by the Greek National Theatre which includes, Vincenzo Bellini’s tragic opera Norma (June) along with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (July).
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Athens during the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, be sure to attend at least one performance at any of these ancient theatres for a truly unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience.
Click Here to register and be the first to know when the full programme in announced and tickets go on-sale in 2019
ODEON OF HERODES ATTICUS
The spectacular open-air theatre of Odeon Herodes Atticus provides a magical setting at the base of the Acropolis. It has hosted legendary performances by Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti to name a few.
[Getting there: Dionysiou Areopagitou. For the taxi driver: Ωδείο Ηρώδειο, Οδός Διονυσίου Αρεοπαγίτου. Nearest metro station: Acropolis]
Why Athens Tip: All theatre performances will be accompanied by English subtitles unless otherwise specified
NORMA by Vincenzo Bellini (OPERA)
Essentials: 4, 5, 7, 8 June 2019. 9:00pm
Norma, the opera by Vincenzo Bellini, was one of the first to be presented in Athens as a newly formed state in 1837. A tragedy in two acts that take place in 50 BC, Gaul, it features Bellini’s signature long melodies and is considered a masterpiece of the bel canto genre, that is defined by a highly expressive style of singing. The love triangle between the perjured high priestess of the Druids, her young colleague and the roman proconsul, will be brought back to life by Spanish director Carlus Padrissa, one of the six artistic directors of the famous collective ‘La Fura dels Baus’ from Barcelona. See more information about the show here
LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi (OPERA)
Essentials: 27, 28, 30, 31 July 2019. 9:00pm
One of Verdi’s most popular operas returns to the Odeon stage. This tragic love story, with its much-loved arias and duets, will be directed by the Greek National Opera’s choreographer and artistic director, Konstantinos Rigos who will attempt time travel, beginning with Violetta Valéry’s Parisian 18th century residence and moving into today’s world, where the tragic ending of the story will unfold. See more information about the show here
To be advised when the full programme at the Odeon in Athens is released in 2019 click here to register and be the first to know
ANCIENT THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is regarded as the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece and famous for its perfect acoustics. It was constructed in the late 4th century BC with a capacity of more than 12,000 spectators.
Epidaurus theatre is located within the archaeological site of the sanctuary of Asklepios in Palea Epidaurus, in the region of Argolis and is a two hour drive from Athens. Why Athens are offering special return transfers to the site on the days when performances are showing.
JUNE 2019 PROGRAMME AT ANCIENT EPIDAURUS THEATRE
June 21 & 22 – OEDIPUS by Sophocles | Be informed when this event goes on sale
June 28 & 29 – ORESTEIA by Aeschylus | Be informed when this event goes on sale
JULY 2019 PROGRAMME AT ANCIENT EPIDAURUS THEATRE
July 5 & 6 – THE SUPPLIANTS by Euripides | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 12 & 13 – OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 19 & 20 – IPHIGENIA IN AULIS by Euripides | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 26 & 27 – ELECTRA & ORESTES by Euripides | Be informed when this event goes on sale
AUGUST 2019 PROGRAMME AT ANCIENT EPIDAURUS THEATRE
August 2 & 3 – THE CLOUDS by Aristophanes | Be informed when this event goes on sale
August 9 & 10 – PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus | Be informed when this event goes on sale
LITTLE THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS
The small theatre of ancient Epidaurus is located on the peninsula called “Nisi” (island), on the right side of the harbour. The theatre was discovered in 1971 and built in the 4th century BC. It was established in the Acropolis of the ancient city of Epidaurus at the south-western slope, before the period of Asklepios, and was used mainly for the events of the Dionysian cult and is therefore dedicated to the god Dionysus. It has a capacity of around 2000 seats. [Getting there: This ancient theatre is located in the Argolis prefecture of the Peloponnese. It is a half-hour drive from Nafplio and approximately two hours from Athens. More info on getting there.]
JUNE 2019 PROGRAMME AT LITTLE EPIDAURUS THEATRE
June 22 – SURPRISE FILM SCREENING | Be informed when this event goes on sale
June 28 & 29 – AVANTE-GARDE MUSICAL THEATRE | Be informed when this event goes on sale
JULY 2019 PROGRAMME AT LITTLE EPIDAURUS THEATRE
July 5 & 6 – THEOGONY by Hesiod | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 12 & 13 – KAOS by the Griffin Dance Company | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 19 & 20 – DAPHNIS + CHLOE by Longus | Be informed when this event goes on sale
July 26 & 27 – PHÈDRE by Racine | Be informed when this event goes on sale
AUGUST 2019 PROGRAMME AT LITTLE EPIDAURUS THEATRE
August 2 & 3 – DANAIDS by Andreas Kalvos | Be informed when this event goes on sale
ANCIENT STADIUM OF EPIDAURUS
**PERFORMANCES AT THE ANCIENT STADIUM OF EPIDAURUS ARE YET TO BE CONFIRMED**
The Ancient Stadium of Epidaurus, is located next to the Sanctuary of Asklepius. It was constructed in the 4th century BC to host the athletic games every four years to honour Asklepius, the god of healing. Still visible are the starting pillars and a number of the stone benches for spectators. Today, the natural slope of the ground is used for the arrangement of seats.