"La belle Hélène" is a beautiful operetta by Jacques Offenbach. Now for the first time it has been translated and performed in Greek in Athens, by a group of very talented singers under the artistic direction of Panagiotis Adam. I saw "Η Ωράια Ελένη" yesterday at the Olvio theatre in Athens, and I enjoyed it a whole lot. 

The story unfolds as Eleni, the wife of Sparta's king Menelaos, lives in a world where men only concern with warfare and neglect love. As Paris, the prince of Troy, arrives disguised as a sheperd, and catches her attention. Eleni's flirt with Paris is discovered by Menelaos, but the two manage to escape together.

Offenbach's music is beautiful, and the arrangement of Adam is brilliant. A multitude of funny ideas make the play quite entertaining; I counted dozens of open laughs by the audience. But there are also scenic tricks and impressions that you would not expect in a low-budget production. As for the nine artists - they are all wonderful. Besides Eleni Liona, who plays the role of Eleni and whose mezzo soprano voice and scenic presence are quite impressive, there is Nikos Stefanou in the role of Paris; Timos Sirlantzis in the role of the prophet; Antonis Sigalas is Menelaos, Panagiotis Terzakis is Agamemnon, Mikalis Aggelidakis is Orestis, Stelios Keleris is Achilleas. And then there are the two dancers, who fill the scene with a backdrop of funny sketches: Afroditi and Erotas, played by the wonderful Natassa Papamichail and Loukas Theodossoupoulos. 

The music is accompanied by a skilled quartet of piano, violin, cello and flute, played respectively by Theodoris Iosifidis, Eleni Liggri, Kostas Sereleas, and Giula Dousikou.

The play will be repeated on May 9th and 10th at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. If you have a chance, I warmly suggest you to attend it!