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RDC 5036
World Music

Dunya Records
1 CD

Aristophanes was the finest playwright of Classical Greece. In that era comedies were performed in large open-air theaters where the audiences rushed to root for their favorite actors. Yes, they actually rooted because new comedies were presented in competitions. The shows lasted for several hours and included comic scenes, dance and music. We do not know exactly what these shows were like. They were probably something like Wanda Osiris coming down a large stairway singing, or Broadway music hall shows. One thing we know for certain: the authors staged their works and in the end someone won and the others lost.
The year in which Aristophanes presented "The Birds" in a contest, it did not win.
It was the spring of 414 B.C. and his play only took second place, perhaps because the text is not comprised merely of satirical remarks, more or less humorous, but goes beyond that. "The Birds" is still interesting to us today, after 2,500 years, because it speaks of the desire to leave the city, disappointment in the failure of grand projects for civil coexistence, intolerance toward corruption. But most of all "The Birds" tells about an impossible dream: building the ideal city.

Peisthetaerus and Evelpide are two Athenians who cannot stand living in their city any more because corruption and meanness has contaminated all their fellow citizens. Perhaps they are opponents of the regime. They are fleeing to seek out a tranquil place, a city where one can live in peace. They run into an old friend of theirs who has solved that problem for himself by turning into a bird: he has become a hoopoe. Peisthetaerus and Evelpide also want to become birds. They do and then immediately convince the other birds to join battle against men and gods. The birds are the rulers of the air, which is the most important element, therefore they can and must dominate the universe. They build fortified walls in the sky. They organize an invincible army of birds and they win. The comedy ends with Peisthetaerus marrying Zeus's lover. At the wedding feast roast birds are served: they are the opponents of the new regime.

The Cd presents the soundtrack of the theatre version of the play presented at the Spoleto Festival in June 1996.

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