Aeschylus

The Oresteia
  • The Oresteia

    • Aeschylus

    • Lesley Sharp (Read by)

    • Hugo Speer (Read by)

    • Will Howard (Read by)

    • Joanne Froggatt (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Niamh Cusack (Read by)

    The classic trilogy about murder, revenge and justice, as heard on BBC Radio 3 – plus a bonus documentary exploring Aeschylus's seminal Greek tragedy

    A chilling tale of homecoming, violent death and bloody vengeance, The Oresteia dates back to the 5th Century BC, but its themes still resonate today. At once a family saga, morality tale and courtroom drama, it recounts how two generations of the cursed House of Atreus become locked into a deadly cycle of atrocities. To break the chain, their private vendetta must become public, as questions of guilt and justification are decided in the first ever homicide trial…

    Agamemnon
    The Trojan War is over, and conquering hero Agamemnon arrives home to Argos. But victory came at an appalling price – the sacrifice of his eldest daughter, Iphigenia. Now, his wife Clytemnestra is determined to take a grisly revenge …

    The Libation Bearers
    Returning from exile, Agamemnon's son Orestes vows to avenge his father’s death by murdering his killer, his own mother Clytemnestra. But where can he find the strength to carry out such a horrific deed?

    The Furies
    Having committed matricide, Orestes flees to Delphi. But the remorseless Furies, ancient deities of vengeance, are on his trail and baying for blood. Can the young gods Apollo and Athena save him from a terrible fate?

    Adapted by three of Britain’s most imaginative writers, Simon Scardifield, Ed Hime and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, these contemporary versions of Aeschylus’s trilogy are atmospheric, fast-moving and superbly accessible. The star casts include Lesley Sharp as Clytemnestra, Hugo Speer as Agamemnon and Will Howard as Orestes.

    Each of the plays is introduced by Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at Kings College London.

    Also featured is an episode of In Our Time, in which Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how The Oresteia has fired the modern imagination, inspiring artists ranging from Richard Wagner to T. S. Eliot.

    Written by Aeschylus

    Agamemnon
    The Chorus – Arthur Hughes, Philip Jackson and Carolyn Pickles
    Clytemnestra – Lesley Sharp
    Agamemnon – Hugo Speer
    Cassandra – Anamaria Marinca
    Calchas – Karl Johnson
    Aegisthus – Sean Murray
    Iphigenia – Georgie Fuller
    Herald – John Norton
    Guards – Steve Toussaint and Harry Jardine
    Adapted by Simon Scardifield
    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko
    BBC Concert Orchestra Percussionists: Alasdair Malloy, Stephen Webberley and Stephen Whibley
    Singer: Adriana Festeu
    Sound design by Colin Guthrie
    First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 12 January 2014

    The Libation Bearers
    Orestes – Will Howard
    Electra – Joanne Froggatt
    Clytemnestra – Lesley Sharp
    The Chorus – Sheila Reid, Amanda Lawrence and Carys Eleri
    Aegisthus – Sean Murray
    Cilissa – Carolyn Pickles
    Pylades – Joel MacCormack
    Servants – David Seddon and John Norton
    Iphigenia – Georgie Fuller
    Adapted by Ed Hime
    Directed by Marc Beeby
    BBC Concert Orchestra Percussionists: Alasdair Malloy, Stephen Webberley and Stephen Whibley
    Singer: Adriana Festeu
    Sound design by Cal Knightley and Colin Guthrie
    First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 19 January 2014

    The Furies
    Narrator – Niamh Cusack
    Alecto – Polly Hemingway
    Megaera – Maureen Beattie
    Tisiphone – Carolyn Pickles
    Orestes – Will Howard
    Athena – Chipo Chung
    Apollo – Joel MacCormack
    Clytemnestra – Lesley Sharp
    The Pythia – Priyanga Burford
    Girl – Carys Eleri
    Judge – Sean Murray
    Adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz
    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko
    BBC Concert Orchestra Percussionists: Alasdair Malloy, Stephen Webberley and Stephen Whibley
    Sound design by Colin Guthrie
    First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 26 January 2014

    In Our Time
    Presented by Melyvn Bragg
    With Edith Hall, then Professor of Greek Cultural History at Durham University; Simon Goldhill, Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge; Tom Healy, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London
    Produced by Charlie Taylor
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 December 2005

AESOP probably lived in the middle part of the sixth century BC. A statement in Herodotus gives grounds for thinking that he was a slave. Simon Goldhill (introducer) is Professor of Greek at Cambridge University and a Fellow of King's College where he is Director of Studies in Classics. He has published widely on many aspects of Greek literature, especially tragedy. He is in great demand as a lecturer all over the world, and is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television on classical matters. Shomit Dutta (editor) was educated at University College Oxford, and King's College London, and has taught classics at Radley College and Harrow School, and Oxford. He is also a freelance arts reviewer, and has published a translation of Sophocles' Ajax (Cambridge).

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