Also included is an excerpt from Blackstone's dramatization of The Odyssey, in which Agamemnon's brother Menelaus learns of the events of The Oresteia from Proteus, the sea god.
(P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
This production is based on the Ian Johnston translation and is produced by Yuri Rasovsky. I'm partial to Johnston's work: he also did the outstanding verse translations of Homer recently recorded by Naxos (and available on Audible). This is more than a simple "staged reading." Rasovsky, an old hand at audio theater, pulls out the stops: music and sound effects are used throughout, and I found the choruses, always a dilemma in modern stagings of Greek drama, especially effective. (Oh, and the acting is pretty good too!) Well done, moving, and consistently interesting.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
Aeschylus' ability to weave and connect his tragedies seems second nature in today's world of sequels, trilogies, and Star Wars prequels, but Aescheylus' genius existed both in the original form and the brilliant substance of his surviving plays. I can understand how Swinburne could call the Oresteia trilogy the "greatest spiritual work of man." The Oresteia is at once brilliant, creepy, and infinitely tragic (only family dramas can be so damn full of pathos). As I was reading it, I was constantly thinking of the influences the Oresteia had on everyone from Shakespeare (think Lady Macbeth) to our current crop of TV police procedurals.
..than a walk with this production taking desultory interludes from this magical inner theater to enjoy the lovely surroundings I know not of it
there are so many, but if forced to choose one, I would say Cassandra's scene for Agamemnon, The murder of Clytemnestra for The Libation Bearers, and, of course, the Trial in Eumenides.
Soap Opera for eggheads
This is a very good reading of the plays - the director uses lots of music and sound to the reading to give it the feeling of a full performance. The translation is engaging and contemporary. Some of the actors are a bit hammy and seem to enjoy the sound of their own voices too much, but otherwise this does a great job of communicating the power of the plays.
This is a fine idiomatic translation that is almost poetic. (Could have been better, but no complaints.)
The production and audio quality are both excellent, and I agree wholeheartedly with another reviewer who commended its handling of the choruses.
Sadly, however, all of the above are grievously marred by typically vain and unsophisticated American actors. (This, coming from an American.)
There is very little subtlety here, and at least two of the actors (male) were in way over their head and had neither the attention span nor the spiritual refinement to succeed here.
All-in-all though, recommended. Just grin and bear it.
"Paves the way to the text"
The Oresteia is a very complicated yet catching tragedy. It is a deviation from Greek tragedies such as Oedipus, and this makes it both interesting and difficult to understand the challenges and struggles between furies and olympian Gods marks a transition in Greek mythology.
This Hollywood version of the Oresteia has the advantage of using colourful voices and effects in order to help the listener to imagine the different kinds of beings who are involved in the play viz. humans, Gods, and Furies.
Of course the Hollywood version of the Oresteia cannot replace the text itself and it is highly recommended to the philhellenics to read the text as well. But this audio-play will certainly ease the readers way to the text, which prior to it might seem very difficult to understand.
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