The resumption of classical performances at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse after the Great War and the Spanish epidemic.

Greek Palace
from July 1, 2021
to September 30, 2022

Multimedia exhibition by Fondazione Istituto Nazionale del Drama Antico, curated by Marina Valensise and supervised by Davide Livermore

Resurrected from the silence of the archives, a series of period photographs by the Syracusan Angelo Maltese (1896-1978), reproduce the performance of Aeschylus’ CoEphoras, staged in 1921 for the resumption of classical plays at the Greek Theater of Syracuse, which took place after an interruption of seven years from the first season in 1914, due to the Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic.

They are black and white photos that reproduce a historical spectacle through the actors of the Varini-Berti-Masi company, the poses of the Coephoras, with the choruses entrusted to the young girls of Syracuse, the images of the sets and the costumes by Duilio Cambellotti. They testify of an extraordinary enterprise born from the energy and the farsightedness of a group of patrons of Syracuse gathered around the brothers Filippo and Mario Tommaso Gargallo of Castel Lentini, who personally contributed to the rebirth of the Greek Theatre and to the production of shows en plein air among the ruins of the famous monument of the VII century B.C., sculpted in the limestone rock of the Colle Temenite.


Starting from this collection of photographs, the National Institute of Ancient Drama Foundation has set up a multimedia exhibition, to remember the birth of an institution now over a hundred years old and the optimates who made it possible.

A first section is dedicated to the protagonists of the enterprise: the count Mario Tommaso Gargallo of Castel Lentini; the archaeologist Paolo Orsi; the Greek scholar Et-tore Romagnoli, until 1928 artistic director of the classical representations at the Greek Theatre; the composer Giuseppe Mulè, author of the music and of the choruses of the Coefore inspired to the Greek nòmoi that had survived according to Alberto Favara in the Sicilian popular songs; the artist Duilio Cambellotti, author of the scenographies and of the costumes. Particular attention is dedicated to the production of the show of one hundred years ago that saw involved the teachers and the students of the local School of Art applied to the Industry for the execution of the sketches of Cambellotti, the tailors and the costume designers as Manrico Bonetti of Pado-va, and the actors of the Company Varini-Berti-Masi.



A second section is followed by the display on three panels of sixty black and white photographs that reproduce the scenes and the salient moments of the second act of the Oresteia, each accompanied by the translation of the verses of Aeschylus to which they refer, in the version in endecasyllables by Ettore Romagnoli prepared for the 1921 production.

The path of the exhibition ends with “Spazio del Tempo” (Space of Time), in the setting conceived and realized by Carmelo Iocolano, where the visitor can immerse himself in the atmosphere of the Greek Theatre of a hundred years ago. On a screen at 180 degrees will see projected a video made by Alain Parroni, who thanks to augmented reality puts in motion the images of Angelo Maltese, returns the color to the scenes and costumes of Duilio Cambel-lotti, gives voice to the interpreters with the recording of the verses of Aeschylus translated by Romagnoli, and music and chorus by Giuseppe Mulè, interpreted by students and teachers of the Academy of Art of Ancient Drama, under the direction of the master Marco Podda.

The preparation of the exhibition has been supervised by Davide Livermore.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on July 1, 2021 and will remain open to the public until September 30, 2022, before starting its national and international circuit. The exhibition catalog is published by Electa.


FROM JULY 1, 2021