Lyrical Greek poet Pindar (522–443 BC) tells us the ‘superman’ of Greek mythology Heracles laid out Olympia as an act of homage. It was about celebrating the success of the twelve labours the Gods had set him. He cleared the site associated with the earth Goddess Ge 15k inland from the sea in a fertile valley pleasantly shaded with plane, olive, white poplars and palm trees. In ancient times it was accessed via the river Alpheios as well as by land. Princes and tyrants from Sicily and Southern Italy arrived in splendid barges. Ambassadors and the rich vied with each other in dress and paraphernalia arriving on horseback or in chariots. The poor arrived on donkeys, in carts or on foot. There wasn’t a town nearby so food sellers, merchants and artisans offered sustenance and souvenirs. All that remains today to evoke the multitudes of people is wind stirred flowers… to be continued
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.
Elena Xanthoudakis as Eurydice and Andrew Goodwin as Orpheus in the 2010 Pinchgut Opera production of Franz Joseph Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice – photographs by Simon Hodgson
There was a breathtaking moment during the first hour of the 5pm Sunday performance of the Pinchgut Opera’s 2010 production of composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)’s L’anima del filosofo, Orpheus + Eurydice when I became aware of a most beautiful moment of stillness yet attained by any audience I have ever known at the Opera.
It seemed to me as if it was collectively holding its breath so as not to disturb the sheer beauty and depth of the emotional intensity attained in a duet being sung so superbly by the lovers Orpheus and Eurydice portrayed so brilliantly by soprano Elena Xanthoudakis and tenor Andrew Goodwin. Their voices blended into a moment of such perfection that it was truly hard to comprehend and for me, quite literally hard to come to terms with. It felt like dying and going to heaven all that the same time.