Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Video: “Elektra” Director and Cast on Working in the Villa’s Outdoor Theater

What is it like to perform Greek tragedy in an outdoor theater setting? The director, the composer and musical director, and cast members of the sold-out new production of Sophocles’ Elektra—which premieres tonight at the Getty Villa—gave us their take as they prepared to open the show. The production features a newly commissioned translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker of this epic tragedy of revenge and redemption, which is one of Sophocles’ most elegantly structured and emotionally wrenching works.

Update as of Thursday afternoon—a few tickets have just been released for this weekend’s performances.

Carey Perloff and Olympia Dukakis begin, followed by Manoel Felciano, who plays Orestes (at 1:16); composer and musical director Bonfire Madigan Shive (at 2:07); and Pamela Reed, who plays Clytemnestra (at 5:04).

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      gettypubs:

      COBALT

      The histories of many colors are amazing, but cobalt may well have the most brilliant of them all. From the Ming Dynasty to Renaissance Italy, cobalt was a popular glaze for porcelain and other ceramics. Cobalt ink is invisible unless exposed to flame, which turns it a vivid green. In the 17th century, this quality made Europeans believe it was witchcraft, but decades later it was used as a neat trick on fire screens. It wasn’t until 1802 that painters added cobalt to their palette. 

      It is this little tidbit from cobalt’s history that saved master forger Han van Meergeren’s skin after WWII, when he was tried for collaborating with the Nazis. Want to find out how some art history sleuthing and smart science got him a not guilty verdict? Hint: Don’t try to forge a Vermeer with cobalt! 

      Read all about it in The Brilliant History of Color in Art!

      Images, clockwise:

      Glazed earthenware dish with a marchant ship, Italy, about 1510. 

      Glazed earthenware tile floor, Spain, about 1425-50.

      Porcelain lidded vase, China, about 1662-1772.

      All objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

      12/18/14

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