“I was always a great admirer of the world of ancient Greece, and, of all its dramatists, I feel closest to Euripides. His last play was The Bacchae, whose theme is the transformation of a demigod into a god, holding up a mirror to today’s self-satisfied humanity in an age estranged from the metaphysical,” writes the composer László Melis of the opera he was commissioned to create for the Palace of Arts. “This opera is built on a now-forgotten musical approach embodied in ancient Greek musical theory thousands of years ago. Most of the text of ancient dramas was sung, and opera itself as a genre has this to thank for its existence. It’s an exciting thing to place the original text into the musical medium in which it was born.” Melis has created an exciting work both musically and dramatically, applying methods known from ancient Greek music while adhering to ancient Greek musical theory and both extant and reconstructed musical fragments from antiquity in the range of sounds employed. And yet what we hear is not a reconstruction of the music of ancient Greece, but contemporary and modern music that is accessible to all. The rhythms of the work follow the original text, with the seven characters and six-member female chorus singing in ancient Greek, while accompaniment is provided by a large chamber ensemble. Director András Jeles strives to avoid realism of any kind, or even to map out the story. As he says, the dithyrambic chorus, in conveying Dionysian ecstasy, presents the audience with the illusion that they are intimate participants in a magical and frightening story couched in myth, casting them under its joyous and ecstatic musical spell.