Monday, July 18, 2011
Antalya and Aspendos Theatre
We stayed in Antalya for 3 nights after our backpacking trip in a comfy pension in the Kaleici (old town). Unfortunately this time of year, the merchants are tweaked out on parasitic crack, and it was a little intense for both of us to all of a sudden be in such a touristy environment with everyone shouting at us, "Where are you from"? and "Yes, please!" But we were able to rest up for the next part of our journey, see some of the iconic sights of Antalya, and acclimate to the heat we were about to experience tenfold in southeastern Turkey.
The big treat for both of us, and we actually extended our stay in Antalya to do this, was to see an opera at Aspendos Theatre, as part of their International Opera and Ballet Festival held there every summer.
Aspendos is an ancient town from 469 BC, and its theatre is one of the best preserved in Asia Minor. It was originally constructed by the Greeks, and later altered by the Romans. It could accommodate 14,000 people in its time, and exhibited both theatrical and gladiator shows.
They let the audience in at 8pm and we watched the sun go down in time for the 9 o'clock performance of Puccini 's opera "Tosca" performed by the Kazakhstan Opera Company.
This is a depiction of Dionysus in the keystone above the stage. The roots of ancient Greek theater lie in the cult of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility. I can't imagine how many performances this Dionysus has watched in Aspendos theatre, but it was sure a satisfying feeling to be watching one of them as well.
This is a really happy Randy: