Medea in Performance 1500-2000

Edited by Edith Hall, Fiona Macintosh and Oliver Taplin

Legenda (General Series)


1 December 2000  •  320pp

ISBN: 978-1-900755-35-1 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


Medea, the most theatrical of all Greek tragic characters, has enjoyed a long and varied career in the theatre, attracting such star performers as Clairon, Pasta, Schroeder, Ristori, Bernhardt, Thorndike and Callas. The versatility of this mythical heroine is reflected in the range of her manifestations on the modern stage in drama, ballet, opera and film. The extensive performance history of Euripides' Medea since the Renaissance underscores its lasting social and political relevance. Here, papers drawn from an interdisciplinary colloquium, hosted at Somerville College by the University of Oxford's Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama in August 1998, are augmented by additional essays from specialists. Medea in Performance includes a production chronology compiled from the Archive's database, providing an indispensable research tool for anyone interested in the worldwide reception of ancient plays.


  • ‘It provides crucial insights into the constantly shifting parameters of performance... Medea in Performance analyses each stage of [Medea's] metamorphosis in theatre, opera and film, and, in a wonderful essay by Margaret Reynolds, makes the important point that the static iconography of Medea is often as dramatically charged as her stage incarnation. The result is an entertaining and informed work.’ — Jane Montgomery, Times Literary Supplement 23 March, 2001, 20
  • ‘Sophisticated and elegantly argued treatments... Fills in many gaps in the performance history. Smethurst brings to her stunning close reading of Yukio Ninagawa's internationally acclaimed performance a scholarly knowledge of both Greek and traditional Japanese drama.’ — Helene P. Foley, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 27 April, 2001
  • ‘While the book's scope is enormous, its overall design had clearly been thought through with care, the result being that one comes away from it with a real sense of having thoroughly reviewed the subject... a highly valuable contribution to the literature on performance.’ — Richard H. Armstrong, American Journal of Philology 123.2, 2002, 289-93
  • ‘This is an important collection, not only as a document in the history of scholarship but also because it touches on themes which demand further exploration.’ — Lorna Hardwick, Classical Review 52, 2002, 357-9
  • ‘Makes a strong contribution to cultural studies... Always admirable.’ — Graham Ley, Prudentia XXXIV.2, 2002, 249-51
  • ‘Absolutely outstanding chapters by Hall and Macintosh approach performance history as a complex series of interrelations between theatrical practice and audience expectations, literary trends and contemporary debates.’ — Astrid Voigt, Journal of Hellenic Studies 123, 2003, 263-5


Introduction: The Performer in Performance
Fiona Macintosh
Medea in the English Renaissance
Diane Purkiss
Medea on the Eighteenth-Century London Stage
Edith Hall
Medea Transposed: Burlesque and Gender on the Mid-Victorian Stage
Fiona Macintosh
Medea è mobile: The Many Faces of Medea in Opera
Marianne McDonald
Performing Medea; or, Why is Medea a Woman?
Margaret Reynolds
Between Magic and Realism: Medea on Film
Ian Christie
Medea in Greece
Platon Mavromoustakos
Central European Medea
Eva Stehlíková
The Japanese Presence in Ninagawa's Medea
Mae Smethurst
Medea Comes Home
Olga Taxidou
Medeas on the Archive Database
David Gowen

Bibliography entry:

Hall, Edith, Fiona Macintosh, and Oliver Taplin (eds), Medea in Performance 1500-2000 (Legenda, 2000)

First footnote reference: 35 Medea in Performance 1500-2000, ed. by Edith Hall, Fiona Macintosh and Oliver Taplin (Legenda, 2000), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Hall, Macintosh, and Taplin, p. 47.

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Bibliography entry:

Hall, Edith, Fiona Macintosh, and Oliver Taplin (eds). 2000. Medea in Performance 1500-2000 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Hall, Macintosh, and Taplin 2000: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Hall, Macintosh, and Taplin 2000: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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