It was indeed a joy to see an audience of 700 and more, ranging in age from 2 to 90 years old, listening, literally with reverence and devotion, to Beethoven's Coriolan Overture and 5th Symphony, performed by the Young People's Symphony Orchestra of Portugal, directed by G. Hadjinikos, or to Mozart, Haydn and Rodrigo, led by the amazing Spanish maestro, Manuel Palau Sala. During the two and a half hours of each performance, there reigned absolute silence, order and disciplne, and you had the feeling that the simple villager and the youthful listener, in accord with the rhythm of the music and purified by their immersion in the founts of nature, who generously displayed her charms in the summer night, were receiving the message of the vital essence of life and were participating in its mystic harmony. The same was true as the public watched the theatrical performance of excerpts from the Indian epic Ramayana by Indian artists, which despite the unfamiliar language, was made intelligible to the audience.
In August, the charming little village of Pelion, Horto, with the lovely sea and delightful landscape, is flooded with young musicians and actors, mainly foreigners, but with Greeks as well. Their presence is immediately felt by the uninformed visitor, as it was by us. From unexpected corners comes the sound of musical instruments played by young people who have come for the seminars and who are practicing/rehearsing. We soon found out what it all came from the young Portuguese group who shared the same hotel with us. It was the seminar organized by the G. Angelinis Cultural Foundation, directed and run by Mrs. Pia Hadjinikou-Angelini and the internationally known musician, George Hadjinikos. With the assistance of UNESCO, present at Horto were the Young People's Symphony Orchestra of Portugal, soloists of such international repute as Lucas David (violin), Sibylle Langmaar (viola), K. Krieger (cello), Paul Galbraith (guitar), Maria Argyros (oboe) and Einar Johannesson (clarinet), and also the Sopanam Indian theatrical group under the direction of Kavalam Narayana Panikkar (who, a few days earlier, presented "Prometheus Bound", as Pramanda, on ET 2 Television). George Hadjinikos, an unrivalled teacher, as all initiated and uninitiated, Greek or foreign - acknowledge, managed, in a few days to teach very difficult places, some of them presented in Greece for the first time. We were fortunate enough to hear the concert given by various groups on Wednesday, the 29th of August. The evening was dedicated to Tasos Lignadis, who had seen with his own eyes what was being done at Horto and was an ardent supporter of the scheme. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the sequel he had dreamed of. An evening of rare enjoyment, in that open-air theatre of the Angelinis Foundation, surrounded by the trees and the beauty (and in the cool) of Pelion. It is, indeed, gratifying that there should be such oases in provincial summer resorts, where other kinds of entertainment usually prevail. I hope and wish that this lovely tradition inaugurated at Horto may con- tinue and that it may spread to other places, as well.
At the beginning of September, in the small seaside village of Horto in southern Pelion, the curtain was raised on a seven-day seminar dedicated to ancient and Shakespearean theatre. Forty students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London were joined by members of the School of the National Theatre at Athens, the National School of Dance, the Theatre Club of Volos and about 300 villagers, whose participation was vital to the success of the project. The seminar was the idea of Pia Hadjinikos-Angelini. Her "George Angelinis Foundation" has now entered its fourth year of presenting musical and theatrical groups from Greece and abroad, as well as international seminars on ecology and musical education. With the protection of the Pelion landscape and tradition as its main goal, the foundation has presented a series of events designed to embrace Greek and foreign cultures in a permanent setting. The venue for lectures and performances this year was the foundation's 350-seat open-air theatre, which lies in its own garden enshrouded by tall evergreens. Adjoining facilities are housed in a bungalow, and this proved well able to house the trappings of three companies at once. The Guildhall School performed two plays. The first, Shakespeare's early comedy Love's Labours Lost was played midweek, and the second, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, was performed on the penultimate night. Both plays benefitted from the splendor of period costumes and the presence of an all-female quintet, the Brass Belles. The National Theatre School donned ancient masks for their performance of excerpts from Euripides' Electra and the Phoenician Women, given in both Ancient and Modern Greek. They also presented segments from the Romantic Cretan drama of Erotokritos, and finished off the evening with a demonstration of theatrical swordplay. The 15 members of the Theatre Club of Volos, who had just returned from an Italian tour, performed the Byzantine chant version of Sophocles' Antigone. Their interpretation was of particular interest to the British students, who were able to learn how the Greeks overcome problems of presentation associated with ancient tragedy. On the last night, the National School of Dance from Athens performed the lament from Aristophanes' The Suppliants and the famous "Dance of the Birds", putting the audience in the right frame of mind for the following village feast in local restaurants. The performances were, however, not least among the week's events and perhaps the greatest opportunity for the students to learn from each other came from the many lectures and classes that took place in the theatre's early evening shade. Travelling with the company from London was the Guildhall School's director of drama, Tony Church, together with the school's head of voice, Patsy Rodenburg. Both work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, with which the school is closely affiliated, and their contributions to the seminar were invaluable. Church gave two lectures. The first concerned Shakespeare's major tragic roles, and the second explored the relations between Shakespeare and Homer, with special reference to Troilus and Cressida and Hamlet. The actors performed the chief roles. Rodenburg presented what proved to be the week's most successful workshop, with the participation of the entire company, most of the Greek students and members of the local audience. Hers was a practical exercise in the use of voice, with particular attention to the demands imposed by classical texts. This was a unique opportunity for the Greek actors to learn something new. For their part, Tassos Lignadis, director of the School of the National Theatre, gave an introductory lecture to Sophocles' Antigone, particularly to Spiros Vrachoritis' version as performed by the Theatre Club of Volos. This was followed by an open rehearsal for the benefit of the Britons. Ion Zottos, a noted Renaissance scholar, gave an in-depth lecture on the problems he faces in researching the role of ancient tragedy and chorus during the Renaissance. Not only did the event provide a rich forum for ideas, set in the enchanting surroundings of an idyllic village, it also kindled the necessary impetus for the best sort of regional development to begin. It only remains to thank the British Council in Athens for their generous support and to mention that next year's plans include a visit to Horto by a British youth orchestra.