The magnificent open-air theater, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, is one of the fabled locations that lie beneath the slopes on the southwest side of the Acropolis. The second-century AD Greek traveler and explorer Pausanias called the Odeon theater the best structure of its kind when he visited Athens during Marcus Aurelius' rule.
Since its modern re-opening 60 years ago, this old stone theater has played host to some of the world's best musical acts, including Luciano Pavarotti, Nana Mouskouri, and Frank Sinatra, to mention a few. Odeons were originally constructed for musical competitions.
It was constructed between 160 and 174 AD as an homage to the late Rigilla, the wealthy patron of Athens known simply as Herodes Atticus. It was the third Odeon to be constructed in Athens, and unlike the neighboring Theater of Dionysus, it had a distinctly Roman appearance. It was originally partially covered with a timber and tile roof, which is why it has Roman arches and a three-story stage construction.
The once-circular orchestra has now been divided into two halves by a black-and-white marble floor. The marble theater, which has 35 rows and a current capacity of 4680 people, slightly exceeds an 80-meter-diameter semicircle.
The city decided to completely restore the arena in the 1950s, and it opened in 1955 as the main site for the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is still a key location for the festival today, and admission requires a ticket for a show. You won't soon forget seeing a performance here, whether it's one of the magnificent ballets and arias or one of the old Greek tragedies.
Giuseppe Verdi's sinister masterpiece Rigoletto, conducted by Lukas Karytinos and staged by Athens Epidaurus Festival Artistic Director Katerina Evangelatos, will be the first significant Greek National Opera production in 2022.
Since its debut in Venice in 1851, multitudes of opera fans around the world have praised Rigoletto, which is rightfully regarded as one of the most well-known operas ever. Verdi uses his music to explore all facets of the complicated nature of the court jester Rigoletto, a man on the periphery of society, who takes center stage.
In 2022, one of the most well-known European composers of the last twenty years and award-winning musician Max Richter will make his Odeon of Herodes Atticus debut.
Richter is regarded as a pioneer of modern symphonic neo-classical music and enjoys a sizable following across a wide range of musical genres. He has collaborated with significant creative institutions, and several film soundtracks feature some of his most well-known and cherished pieces.
Dionissiou Areopagitou, Athens, Greece