The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery and sometimes dance or ballet; the performance is given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Understood as an sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theater, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and self-contained arias; the 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama. Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.
In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s; the most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Magic Flute, landmarks in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating works that are still performed, it saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany; the popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism and Minimalism. With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were performed on these mediums. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances are live streamed; the words of an opera are known as the libretto. Some composers, notably Wagner, have written their own libretti. Traditional opera referred to as "number opera", consists of two modes of singing: recitative, the plot-driving passages sung in a style designed to imitate and emphasize the inflections of speech, aria in which the characters express their emotions in a more structured melodic style.
Vocal duets and other ensembles occur, choruses are used to comment on the action. In some forms of opera, such as singspiel, opéra comique and semi-opera, the recitative is replaced by spoken dialogue. Melodic or semi-melodic passages occurring in the midst of, or instead of, are referred to as arioso; the terminology of the various kinds of operatic voices is described in detail below. During both the Baroque and Classical periods, recitative could appear in two basic forms, each of, accompanied by a different instrumental ensemble: secco recitative, sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accent of the words, accompanied only by basso continuo, a harpsichord and a cello. Over the 18th century, arias were accompanied by the orchestra. By the 19th century, accompagnato had gained the upper hand, the orchestra played a much bigger role, Wagner revolutionized opera by abolishing all distinction between aria and recitative in his quest for what Wagner termed "endless melody". Subsequent composers have tended to follow Wagner's example, though some, such as Stravinsky in his The Rake's Progress have bucked the trend.
The changing role of the orchestra in opera is described in more detail below. The Italian word opera means "work", both in the sense of the labour done and the result produced; the Italian word derives from the Latin opera, a singular noun meaning "work" and the plural of the noun opus. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Italian word was first used in the sense "composition in which poetry and music are combined" in 1639. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, it was writt
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House and had its première there on 24 December 1871, in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world. Ghislanzoni's scheme follows a scenario attributed to the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz argues that the source is Temistocle Solera. Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, commissioned Verdi to write an opera for performance to celebrate the opening of the Khedivial Opera House, paying him 150,000 francs, but the premiere was delayed because of the Siege of Paris, during the Franco-Prussian War, when the scenery and costumes were stuck in the French capital, Verdi's Rigoletto was performed instead. Aida premiered in Cairo in late 1871. Contrary to popular belief, the opera was not written to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, for which Verdi had been invited to write an inaugural hymn, but had declined.
The plot bears striking, though unintentional, similarities to Metastasio's libretto La Nitteti. Verdi chose to write a brief orchestral prelude instead of a full overture for the opera, he composed an overture of the "potpourri" variety to replace the original prelude. However, in the end he decided not to have the overture performed because of its—his own words—"pretentious insipidity"; this overture, never used today, was given a rare broadcast performance by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra on 30 March 1940, but was never commercially issued. Aida met with great acclaim when it opened in Cairo on 24 December 1871; the costumes and accessories for the premiere were designed by Auguste Mariette, who oversaw the design and construction of the sets, which were made in Paris by the Opéra's scene painters Auguste-Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon and Édouard Desplechin and Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, shipped to Cairo. Although Verdi did not attend the premiere in Cairo, he was most dissatisfied with the fact that the audience consisted of invited dignitaries and critics, but no members of the general public.
He therefore considered the Italian premiere, held at La Scala, Milan on 8 February 1872, a performance in which he was involved at every stage, to be its real premiere. Verdi had written the role of Aida for the voice of Teresa Stolz, who sang it for the first time at the Milan premiere. Verdi had asked her fiancé, Angelo Mariani, to conduct the Cairo premiere, but he declined, so Giovanni Bottesini filled the gap; the Milan Amneris, Maria Waldmann, was his favourite in the role and she repeated it a number of times at his request. Aida was received with great enthusiasm at its Milan premiere; the opera was soon mounted at major opera houses throughout Italy, including the Teatro Regio di Parma, the Teatro di San Carlo, La Fenice, the Teatro Regio di Torino, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Teatro Costanzi among others. Details of important national and other premieres of Aida follow: Argentina: 4 October 1873, at the original Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, located at Rivadavia and Reconquista replaced by the headquarters of the Bank of the Argentine Nation.
United States: 26 November 1873, Academy of Music in New York City, with Ostava Torriani in the title role, Annie Louise Cary as Amneris, Italo Campanini as Radamès, Victor Maurel as Amonasro, Evasio Scolara as the King Germany: 20 April 1874, Berlin State Opera, with Mathilde Mallinger as Aida, Albert Niemann as Radamès, Franz Betz as Amonasro Austria: 29 April 1874, Vienna State Opera, with Amalie Materna as Amneris Hungary: 10 April 1875, Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest France: 22 April 1876, Théâtre-Lyrique Italien, Salle Ventadour, with the same cast as the Milan premiere, but with Édouard de Reszke making his debut as the King. United Kingdom: 22 June 1876, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Adelina Patti as Aida, Ernesto Nicolini as Radamès, Francesco Graziani as Amonasro Australia: 6 September 1877, Royal Theatre, Melbourne Munich: 1877, Bavarian State Opera, with Josephine Schefsky as Amneris Stockholm: 16 February 1880, Royal Swedish Opera in Swedish, with Selma Ek in the title role Palais Garnier, Paris: 22 March 1880, sung in French, with Gabrielle Krauss as Aida, Rosine Bloch as Amnéris, Henri Sellier as Radamès, Victor Maurel as Amonasro, Georges-François Menu as the King, Auguste Boudouresque as Ramphis.
Metropolitan Opera, New York: 12 November 1886, conducted by Anton Seidl, with Therese Herbert-Förster in the title role, Carl Zobel as Radamès, Marianne Brandt as Amneris, Adolf Robinson as Amonasro, Emil Fischer as Ramfis, Georg Sieglitz as the King. Rio de Janeiro: 30 June 1886, Theatro Lyrico Fluminense. During rehearsals at the Theatro Lyrico there was an ongoing quarrel between the performers of the Italian touring opera company and the local inept conductor, with the result that substitute conductors were rejected by the audience. Arturo Toscanini, at the time a 19-year-old cellist, assistant chorus master, was persuaded to take up the baton for the performance. Toscanini conducted the entire opera with great success; this would be the start of a promising career. A compl
Rite of Passage (novel)
Rite of Passage is a science fiction novel by American writer Alexei Panshin. Published in 1968 as an Ace Science Fiction Special, this novel about a shipboard teenager's coming of age won that year's Nebula Award, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1969. Rite of Passage is told as a flashback by Mia Havero, the daughter of the Chairman of the Ship's Council, after she has completed her own rite of passage known as Trial, she has survived for thirty days on a colony planet with minimal supplies as part of her initiation into adulthood on one of several giant Ships that survived Earth's destruction in AD 2041. To prevent overpopulation on the Ships, family units can only produce children with the approval of the Ship's Eugenics Council; the penalty for breaking this rule is exile to a colony world. By the year 2198, Mia Havero is twelve years old and, like most of Ship-bound humanity, regards the colonists as "Mudeaters", a derogatory reference to frontier life on a planet; when she accompanies her father on a trading mission to the planet Grainau, Mia learns from the children of a Grainau official that the feeling is mutual.
When Mia returns to the Ship, in addition to her regular studies, she joins a survival class. Survival class is every thirteen-year-old's preparation for Trial, the Ships' rite of passage into adulthood required within three months of turning fourteen. By requiring adolescents to experience the rigors and dangers of life on a colony planet, the Ships hope to avoid stagnation and ensure that those who survive are skilled enough to contribute to Ship life. However, the mortality rate of Trial participants is high, so no expense is spared to train the adolescents about to go through Trial so that they will survive the month spent planetside. Mia's companion in school and in survival class is Jimmy Dentremont, a gifted boy of her own age, their initial rivalry turns to friendship and blossoms into love. Both in and out of survival class, sometimes with Jimmy and sometimes with other children, Mia has a series of adventures that build her confidence, broaden her world, prepare her for Trial, her moral awareness grows during this time, both through formal study of ethical theory and through reflection on the errors she makes as she risks new experiences.
Shortly after her fourteenth birthday and her class are dispatched to the planet Tintera to undergo their Trial. Having quarreled with Jimmy, Mia refuses to team with him, but still chooses the tiger strategy over the turtle strategy. Mia soon encounters a party of rough men on horseback, who are herding Losels, native humanoids the Tinterans treat as domestic animals and use for simple labor, although they may be intelligent enough to be considered slaves. Mia escapes the Losel herders' attempted kidnapping, when she reaches the nearest town, she is repulsed by the fact that all Tinterans are "Free Birthers"—they have no population control, she is disturbed by their apparent practice of enslaving Losels. After a second run-in with the Losel herders leaves Mia badly beaten and robbed of the signalling device she will need to return to her Ship, she is rescued by Daniel Kutsov, an old man, reduced to a simple, manual job as a result of past political activity. Kutsov treats Mia like an adopted grandchild and explains to Mia that her speech gives her away as being from the Ships.
Kutsov tells Mia that Ship people are at best regarded with resentment, at worst killed. Mia has learned that the Tinterans have captured a scoutship from another Ship and arrested one of her fellow Trial participants. While recovering from her injuries in Kutsov's house, she discovers that the prisoner is Jimmy Dentremont. Singlehanded, Mia stages a jailbreak and escapes to the wilderness with Jimmy, but not before the two witness the brutal killing of Kutsov in a roundup of political dissidents. Riding through the night in the pouring rain and Jimmy set up a tent in the woods. While in the tent, they have sex, they arrive the following day at the military headquarters for the territory, where Jimmy retrieves his own signalling device. Before they leave the base, they disable the captured scoutship. Soon after Mia and Jimmy return from Trial, a Shipwide Assembly debates what to do about Tintera; the Tinterans are Free Birthers slavers, a potential danger to the Ship itself. As Mia hears the Assembly's debate, she understands that her views have changed.
Her moral world has broadened to include the Tinterans as people, rather than faceless spear carriers to be used and discarded. Thus she cannot bring herself to condemn the Tinterans en masse. However, under the leadership of Mia's father, who perceives the Tinterans as beyond re-education, the Assembly votes by an eight-to-five margin to destroy Tintera in the name of'moral discipline'. Mia and Jimmy, as adults, prepare to settle into their own living quarters on board Ship. Jimmy offers the hope. Algis Budrys praised Rite of Passage as an "intensely believable, movingly personalized story," saying that "each of the little realized steps" in the story "is so done that one feels a real shock as one realizes that Panshin after all has never been a girl growing up aboard a hollowed-ou
Antigone (Sophocles play)
Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC. Of the three Theban plays Antigone is the third in order of the events depicted in the plays, but it is the first, written; the play expands on the Theban legend that predates it, it picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends. Prior to the beginning of the play, brothers Eteocles and Polyneices, leading opposite sides in Thebes' civil war, died fighting each other for the throne. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes and brother of the former Queen Jocasta, has decided that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices will be in public shame; the rebel brother's body will not be sanctified by holy rites and will lie unburied on the battlefield, prey for carrion animals like worms and vultures, the harshest punishment at the time. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead Eteocles. In the opening of the play, Antigone brings Ismene outside the palace gates late at night for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices' body, in defiance of Creon's edict.
Ismene refuses to help her, not believing that it will be possible to bury their brother, under guard, but she is unable to stop Antigone from going to bury her brother herself. Creon enters, along with the chorus of Theban elders, he seeks their support in the days to come and in particular, wants them to back his edict regarding the disposal of Polyneices' body. The leader of the chorus pledges his support out of deference to Creon. A sentry enters, fearfully reporting that the body has been given funeral rites and a symbolic burial with a thin covering of earth, though no one sees who committed the crime. Creon, orders the sentry to find the culprit or face death himself; the sentry leaves, the chorus sings about honouring the gods, but after a short absence, he returns, bringing Antigone with him. The sentry explains that the watchmen uncovered Polyneices' body and caught Antigone as she did the funeral rituals. Creon questions her after sending the sentry away, she does not deny what she has done.
She argues unflinchingly with Creon about the immorality of the edict and the morality of her actions. Creon becomes furious, seeing Ismene upset, thinks she must have known of Antigone's plan, he summons her. Ismene tries to confess falsely to the crime, wishing to die alongside her sister, but Antigone will not have it. Creon orders that the two women be temporarily imprisoned. Haemon, Creon's son, enters to pledge allegiance to his father though he is engaged to Antigone, he seems willing to forsake Antigone, but when Haemon tries to persuade his father to spare Antigone, claiming that "under cover of darkness the city mourns for the girl", the discussion deteriorates, the two men are soon bitterly insulting each other. When Creon threatens to execute Antigone in front of his son, Haemon leaves, vowing never to see Creon again. Creon decides to bury Antigone alive in a cave. By not killing her directly, he hopes to pay the minimal respects to the gods, she is brought out of the house, this time, she is sorrowful instead of defiant.
She expresses her regrets at not dying for following the laws of the gods. She is taken away to her living tomb, with the Leader of the Chorus expressing great sorrow for what is going to happen to her. Tiresias, the blind prophet, enters. Tiresias warns Creon that Polyneices should now be urgently buried because the gods are displeased, refusing to accept any sacrifices or prayers from Thebes. Creon accuses Tiresias of being corrupt. Tiresias responds that because of Creon's mistakes, he will lose "a son of own loins" for the crimes of leaving Polyneices unburied and putting Antigone into the earth. All of Greece will despise Creon, the sacrificial offerings of Thebes will not be accepted by the gods; the leader of the chorus, asks Creon to take Tiresias' advice to free Antigone and bury Polyneices. Creon assents; the chorus delivers a choral ode to the god Dionysus. A messenger enters to tell the leader of the chorus. Eurydice, Creon's wife and Haemon's mother and asks the messenger to tell her everything.
The messenger reports. When Creon arrived at Antigone's cave, he found Haemon lamenting over Antigone, who had hanged herself. After unsuccessfully attempting to stab Creon, Haemon stabbed himself. Having listened to the messenger's account, Eurydice disappears into the palace. Creon enters, he blames himself. A second messenger arrives to tell the chorus that Eurydice has killed herself. With her last breath, she cursed her husband. Creon blames himself for everything that has happened, and, a broken man, he asks his servants to help him inside; the order he valued so much has been protected, he is still the king, but he has acted against the gods and lost his children and his wife as a result. After Creon condemns himself, the leader of the chorus closes by saying that although the gods punish the proud, punishment brings wisdom. Antigone, compared to her beautiful and docile sister, is portrayed as a heroine who recognizes her familial duty, her dialogues with Ismene reveal her to be as stubborn as her uncle.
In her, the ideal of the female character is boldly outlined. She defies Creon’s decree despite the consequences she may face, in order to honor her deceased brother. Ismene serves as a foil for An
Modern Greek is the form of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The end of the Medieval Greek period and the beginning of Modern Greek is symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic modern features of the language arose centuries earlier, between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries AD. During most of the period, the language existed in a situation of diglossia, with regional spoken dialects existing side by side with learned, more archaic written forms, as with the demotic and learned varieties that co-existed throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Varieties of Modern Greek include several varieties, including Demotic, Pontic, Mariupolitan, Southern Italian and Tsakonian. Speaking, Demotic refers to all popular varieties of Modern Greek that followed a common evolutionary path from Koine and have retained a high degree of mutual intelligibility to the present; as shown in Ptochoprodromic and Acritic poems, Demotic Greek was the vernacular before the 11th century and called the "Roman" language of the Byzantine Greeks, notably in peninsular Greece, the Greek islands, coastal Asia Minor and Cyprus.
Today, a standardised variety of Demotic Greek is the official language of the Hellenic Republic and Cyprus, is referred to as "Standard Modern Greek", or less simply as "Modern Greek" or "Demotic". Demotic Greek comprises various regional varieties with minor linguistic differences in phonology and vocabulary. Due to the high degree of mutual intelligibility of these varieties, Greek linguists refer to them as "idioms" of a wider "Demotic dialect", known as "Koine Modern Greek". Most English-speaking linguists however refer to them as "dialects", emphasising degrees of variation only when necessary. Demotic Greek varieties are divided into two main groups and Southern; the main distinguishing feature common to Northern variants is a set of standard phonological shifts in unaccented vowel phonemes: becomes and and are dropped. The dropped vowels' existence is implicit, may affect surrounding phonemes: for example, a dropped palatalizes preceding consonants, just like an, pronounced. Southern variants do not exhibit these phonological shifts.
Examples of Northern dialects are Rumelian, Macedonian, Thracian, Northern Euboean, Samos and Sarakatsanika. The Southern category is divided into groups that include: Old Athenian-Maniot: Megara, Athens and Mani Peninsula Ionian-Peloponnesian: Peloponnese, Ionian Islands, Attica and Southern Euboea Cretan-Cycladian: Cyclades and several enclaves in Syria and Lebanon Southeastern: Chios, Ikaria and Cyprus. Demotic Greek has been taught in monotonic Greek script since 1982. Polytonic script remains popular in intellectual circles. Katharevousa is a semi-artificial sociolect promoted in the 19th century at the foundation of the modern Greek state, as a compromise between Classical Greek and modern Demotic, it was the official language of modern Greece until 1976. Katharevousa is written in polytonic Greek script. While Demotic Greek contains loanwords from Turkish, Italian and other languages, these have for the most part been purged from Katharevousa. See the Greek language question. Pontic was spoken along the mountainous Black Sea coast of Turkey, the so-called Pontus region, until most of its speakers were killed or displaced to modern Greece during the Pontic genocide, followed by the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.
It hails from Hellenistic and Medieval Koine and preserves characteristics of Ionic due to ancient colonizations of the region. Pontic evolved as a separate dialect from Demotic Greek as a result of the region's isolation from the Greek mainstream after the Fourth Crusade fragmented the Byzantine Empire into separate kingdoms. Cappadocian is a Greek dialect of central Turkey of the same fate as Pontic. Cappadocian Greek diverged from the other Byzantine Greek dialects earlier, beginning with the Turkish conquests of central Asia Minor in the 11th and 12th centuries, so developed several radical features, such as the loss of the gender for nouns. Having been isolated from the crusader conquests and the Venetian influence of the Greek coast, it retained the Ancient Greek terms for many words that were replaced with Romance ones in Demotic Greek; the poet Rumi, whose name means "Roman", referring to his residence amongst the "Roman" Greek speakers of Cappadocia, wrote a few poems in Cappadocian Greek, one of the earliest attestations of the dialect.
Rumeíka or Mariupolitan Greek is a dialect spoken in about 17 villages around the northern coast of the Sea of Azov in southern Ukraine and Russia. Mariupolitan Greek is related to Pontic Greek and evolved from the dialect of Greek spoken in Crimea, a part of the Byzantine Empire and the Pontic Empire of Trebizond, until that latter state fell to the Ottomans in 1461. Thereafter, the Crimean Greek state continued to exist as the independent Greek Principali
Supernumerary actors are amateur character actors in opera and ballet performances who train under professional direction to create a believable scene. The term's original use, from the Latin supernumerarius, meant someone paid to appear on stage in crowd scenes or in the case of opera as non-singing small parts; the word can still be found used for such in opera. It is the equivalent of "extra" in the motion picture industry. Any established opera company will have a supernumerary core of artists to enhance the opera experience; the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Washington National Opera are known for the high profile and seasoned supernumeraries. The WNO saw its supernumerary golden age under the direction of English actress Jennifer Crier Johnston, supernumerary director for eight years. Ms. Johnston appeared in classic Hollywood movies such as My Fair Lady, The Unsinkable Mollie Brown, The Americanization of Emily, The Sound of Music; the Washington Times ran an exhaustive article on supernumeraries in November 2002, in which a Jennifer Johnston describes in detail the fine craft of a supernumerary in the opera.
The WNO has had some major supernumerary personalities on stage such as U. S. Supreme Court Justices Ginsberg and Kennedy who made their last appearance in the opening of Strauss comedic opera Die Fledermaus. New and exciting supernumeraries at the Washington National Opera include: Marlene Hall, David Brindley, Michael Walker, Emily Cohen, Eric Schultz, Felipe Lagos, Victor Yager, John Tinpe, Rey Rivera, Samantha Smith, Liam McKenna, Toni Smiley. Other long time famed supernumeraries include Fernando Varisco, Karl Moeller, Patrizia DiZebba, Harry Spence, Peter Whitten, Alex Riley, Gary Nooger, Alain Letort. In 2005 Walker and Varisco were invited by the well known opera director Cindy Oxberry, assistant director for the WNO for over 10 years, to work in a brand new production of The Washington Savoyards' The Mikado. Oxberry's style and force were obvious in these performances and the Washington Post agreed that "The Savoyards captured the energy of Arthur Sullivan's inimitable melodiousness and the thrust of William Schwenck Gilbert's satiric dialogue, riddled -- a little too -- with updated political jabs."
Supernumeraries are amateur character artists who train under professional direction to create a believable scene. They become part of the props and give a sense of credibility to scenes where crowds, court assistants, peasants or a variety of period characters are needed. Ms. Johnston's style emerged through her experiences in Hollywood and the British theater and she coached all of her supernumeraries until the character, the movements and demeanor matched the period of the opera being presented. Rehearsals can last from 2 weeks to several months depending on the complexity of the performances; some operas require over 50 supernumeraries. Work is assigned according to the ability to look the part and in many cases by the costume size since many of the productions are borrowed from other major opera houses; the Varisco-Johnston style of "supering" emphasizes an understated performance that doesn't "steal focus from the main actors" but it is still vibrant and effusive. Other styles have evolved like the method acting of Walker.
The repertory at any established opera house includes operas with lots of supernumeraries. Setting a record, with 227 supers, was a new production of Prokofiev's War and Peace, which had its last performance of the season on March 19, 2006. Other operas at the Met and other great opera houses awash in supers include Aida and Puccini's La Bohème, according to François Giuliani, press director of the Met, but the chance of being a super is pretty much limited to those with experience and people who can take direction, said Bob Diamond, administrator of supernumeraries at the Met. We don't take people off the street, he added, it is accepted that an opera will use 10 men as extras for every woman. That's opera, we have no control, Mr. Diamond said; the commitment in terms of time can range from as little as one two-hour rehearsal and a dress rehearsal—but supers do have to agree to take part in a minimum number of performances—to as much as five hours a day for four or five weeks for, say, a newly staged opera.
Supernumerary work keeps evolving. There has been a merger of techniques used in Broadway and opera. A good illustration of this type of merging is seen for the second time at the WNO 2006 Fall opera season with the presentation of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, wherein Polish director Mariusz Treliński a movie director, presented his innovative production which used an extensive cast of supernumeraries as Japanese fishermen and live statues; the Washington Blade took notice of these statues and described them effectively: "A wall of Japanese statues come to life and drop flower petals from the heights of the opera stage at Pinkerton’s impending return..." Having said this, directors sometimes take too many artistic liberties with some operas and the final result is not what is to be expected. This can be illustrated with Marta Domingo's production of La Traviata presented at the Washington National Opera in May 2004. Supernumerary Varisco played the part of death during the last act, this is what the Washington Post said about this supernumerary character: Stage director Marta Domingo seems to have taken the Hippocratic oath as her inspiration for this "Traviata": She does no harm.
Her conception is pretty generic, though—ballrooms and sickbeds, bright lig