I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but if you’re in Athens or Argolida sometime soon or looking for something to do this weekend, I really think you should try to see some part of the summer Athens-Epidavros Festival. For the next two weekends the Greek National Opera will be performing Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, right on the slopes of the Acropolis. Carmen is great, but I want you to go because watching a show in the Herodeon is a treat you can’t pass up, because it’s not open to the public. And if that’s not up your alley, there are more shows right down the road at Epidavros! The ancient theater there (which is preserved almost intact from almost 2500 years ago and might be as cool as the Herodeon) is hosting performances of works by the ancient greats Sophocles and Aristophanes over the next few weekends, so if you’re interested and happen to need a driver or guide, let us know and we’ll help you out!
So, why are these theaters so cool that I need to tell you to visit them once a week? Well, the original Herodeon was built around 150 C.E, and was a pet project by a wealthy aristocrat named, you guessed, Herodes Atticus (I guess the Greeks invented corporate sponsorship, too). It was destroyed 100 years later and stayed that way until the 1950s, when it was renovated into the fully functioning facility that it is today. The main theater at Epidavros is awesome for the opposite reason: it’s pretty much the same theater that Caeser would have seen if he went for a show! It was built to maximize the acoustic properties of the space, because nobody did innovation like those ancient Greeks, so if you stand on the stage and let your voice ring out, you’ll be heard all the way in the back like it’s nothing. When you’re sitting there watching the professionals put on a show, you really get an amazing sense of what this part of life for the ancients must have been like. If you want to see Epidavros outside of a show, we’ll totally do that too, but like I said, there’s nothing quite like the experience of the Athens-Epidavros Fest!