13.05.2018 | 19:00 | Akademietheater Wien
The Persians (Greek Πέρσαι Persai) is one of the great tragedies of the Greek poet Aeschylus.
The piece begins with a monologue by the choirmaster, who, as a representative of the Persian nobles, tells in detail how the mighty army of the Persian King Xerxes I sets off for Greece to atone for the defeat of his father Darius I at Marathon and the Greek Cities to join his empire. Then the rest of the choir falls and continues the narrative, not only reporting the first victories, but also the subjugation of the sea itself - meaning the construction of a bridge over the Hellespont, which separates the continents of Asia and Europe. But the worry of the lonely suffering Persian women about their war-ridden men is not unmentioned.
Now comes the queen mother Atossa, wife of the late Darius, who asks the assembled choir of noblemen for advice. In a dream she has seen two sisters of the same tribe, one in Persian, the other in Greek garb, who soon fell into quarrels and quarrels. Xerxes tried to appease her and settle the dispute by tucking both under his yoke in front of his car. But where one wouldingly accepted it, the other tore up their ties and dragged the car away. As a result, Xerxes fell from his car under his father`s eyes. Being aware of it, he tore his clothes out of shame.
When Atossa then wants to sacrifice to the gods to avert possible suffering from her son, she sees an eagle trying in vain to get to the altar in front of the attacking hawk to safety, and then surrenders to this without will.
After the advice of the canons to humbly stand before the gods, a dialogue unfolds between Atossa and the choir, in which Atossa asks him about Athens and its customs. On the statement that Athens has no master, she responds with incomprehension.
Now a messenger appears, who - commented on by the lament of the choir and later in conversation with Atossa - recounted in detail the shameful demise of the Persian fleet, which alone Xerxes has survived with few faithful. After his and Atossas departure, the choir breaks out again in lamentations, pointing to the countless mothers who have suffered bitterly, the young married women who are now widows - but also to the loss of the ships and the shameful flight of the ruler. Even in Asia, the peoples are now refusing to pay tribute.
Atossa returns dressed simply to conjure up, with the support of the choir, her dead husband Darius. For a short time he was allowed to return from the dead. In conversation with Atossa, he denounced the iniquity of Xerxes, who wanted to tie the sea with chains at the Holy Hellespont the sea chains and so measured the God Poseidon himself had challenged. But he also complains of the blasphemous and desolate destruction of the sanctuaries and the robbery of the images of the gods as acts of pride, which will still be at the mercy of terrible suffering. With the request to receive his son worthy of a king, he sinks again in the ground.
After a praise of the choir to the wise Darius, who ruled with intelligence and prudence, Xerxes finally appears himself, in torn clothes and with an empty quiver in his hand. Mourning his fate and quarreling with himself, he approaches the chorus who reproaches him for having sent down the flower of his people to the realm of Hades. Xerxes sees himself defeated by a god and in bitter lamentation between him and the chorus the song ends.
Director: Michael Thalheimer
Choir of the Persian Council of Elders
Falk Rock Straw
Atossa, king`s mother
Christiane von Poelnitz