Pandora, the first woman; created by Zeus to punish man. As a wedding present, Zeus gave Pandora a box but warned her never to open it. The goddess was known for her foolishness and misplaced curiosity. Created to be curious, couldn’t stay away from the box and the urge to open the box overcame her, releasing the evils of the box onto the earth. Dynamic Deity dives into the female figures of Greek mythology and inspects their alliance with higher powers.
One of the monster Gorgons who had a head of hair consisting of snakes, Medusa. She was told in stories to represent the crazy snake lady that, if you looked at her, could turn you into stone. Interpreted as a monstrous woman who tormented people.
Two female figures of Greek myths hold such intensity to their stories through their evil abilities. We must not forget their predisposition to such sinful acts comes from their history of such sorrowful tales that have created such identities.
As we look into the female figure in Greek mythology, we can piece together the potent force they brought to the ancient stories. Whether it be the wicked acts of Medusa or the divine love from Aphrodite, there is an immense force that follows them. Even more so, the reality is that without goddesses taking the role of deities, the myths would simply fail to exist.
Although we see continuous acts of heroism from ancient gods such as Zeus and Poseidon, the respect for goddesses is just as represented. As we see in the myths of Pygmalion and Galatea and Cupid and Psyche, men’s regard for women stemmed from their desire for perfection and appreciation of beauty.
You could class such female power into the actuality that without such goddesses taking part in such myths, there would be no myths, to begin with. Therefore their power is their creation of such ancient stories.
Richard Wagner’s three-part Opera, Parsifal, casts a female figure who represents the ‘marginalization of an eminently masculine world’. Her name? Kundry.
The story follows the journey of the young foolish Arthurian knight, Parsifal. During his quest, he must watch out for Klingsor who is a magician who has a garden full of beautiful flower-maidens. These maidens are in his power. One of them is Kundry, known for luring young knights under the power of Klingsor.
She is half good half bad but she is under Klingsor’s evil control and has no option but to help him in his efforts to destroy the Grail Knights.
The international arts festival “REGARDING…” is based upon a special commission and interpretation of Kundry, the famous work by German composer Richard Wagner.
Kundry works towards investigating the gendering of power across mythologies and within contemporary society through such female figures in the opera.
Regarding Goddesses Festival looks into the history of Greek mythology of the female regime and answering the question, does power have gender?
As you read the myths of Medusa, Pandora, and Kundry, you feel their strength emit from such tenacious stories. Although they do not play the heroin, they are captivating through their power in all the hardships they have overcome in their past. Their identities represent the unfair hand they were dealt, but also the power it instilled in such characters.
Humans require deities such as Athena, Aphrodite, and Demeter to thrive. Although women are rarely the hero in such myths, it is also demonstrated that without women, no children would exist. If there were no offspring, the great heroes of Greek mythology would perish.
No matter the good or evil that each woman bring to these myths, they do hold a substantial level of power within the Greek stories we are told. To kill or to save, to create or to destroy, each brings strength to their actions and each is fulfilled through the role of the names of many enchanting female figures.
The world premiere of Kundry takes place October 21 – October 22 at the Isreal Opera, Tel Aviv-Yafo, with Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. For more information visit Regardingfestival.com
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Illustrations by Anna Martín.