An Evening of Music Inspired by the Ancient Greek Poet Sappho with Renowned Vocalist Savina Yannatou on June 8 in New York City

Savina Yannatou - Photo by Marco de Luca
Renowned Greek vocalist Savina Yannatou and the innovative ensemble Constantinople is set to perform on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 6:30pm at (Le) Poisson Rouge for an evening of music inspired by the ancient Greek poet Sappho.

Sappho’s captivating words will come to life through works by the performers and one of modern Greece’s leading composers, Manos Hadjidakis. Commentary will be provided by Helene P. Foley, Professor of Classics at Barnard College.

Savina Yannatou is renowned for her unique approach to traditional songs from various cultures, for the exquisite beauty of her voice, and for the versatility and musicality with which she uses it. She has performed hundreds of concerts all over the world.

Her professional career as a singer started while she was still a student, on the Greek state radio under the direction of the famous composer Manos Hadjidakis. Later she interpreted Greek songs in collaboration with well-known Greek composers, and she also explored contemporary opera as well as early music.

In the early 1990s, she discovered her love for free improvisation, and in 1996 her international career was launched after the release of a recording of the Sephardic folk songs of Thessaloniki with the group Primavera en Salonico.

Ms. Yannatou has also composed her own music and songs, as well as music for theater performed by the National Greek Theatre (Bacchai, 2005, and Dibuk, 2006), video art, and dance theater. She has performed on more than fifty recordings.

Constantinople draws its inspiration from music of the Mediterranean and Medieval and Renaissance Europe, as well as from musical traditions of the Middle East. The group provides a forum for cross-fertilization between various musical cultures, both within the ensemble itself and with its guest artists.

The Constantinople ensemble endeavors to consolidate the ties between these cultures by cultivating a unique mode of musical expression—a musical vocabulary that has grown out of extensive research into the history and aesthetics of the musical traditions it explores, combined with freshness and creativity.

Helene P. Foley
Helene P. Foley, Professor of Classics at Barnard College, has written books and articles on Greek epic and drama, on women and gender in antiquity, and on the modern performance and adaptation of Greek drama. She is currently completing a book version of her Sather Classical Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, on the reception of Greek tragedy on the U.S. stage.

Professor Foley has served as president of the American Philological Association and as a senior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, Loeb Foundation, and Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, as well as three teaching awards.

Program:

Savina Yannatou, vocalist
and
Constantinople
Kiya Tabassian, artistic director, setar
Ziya Tabassian, percussion
Pierre-Yves Martel, viola da gamba
Lori Freedman, clarinet

Kelomai se Gongyla
Music by Manos Hadjidakis
Lyrics by Sappho

Dream of black
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on Paean of Athenaios (musical fragment dated 128-127 B.C. at Delphi)
Lyrics by Sappho (fragments 63, 104, 96)

Someone will remember us
Music by Kiya Tabassian
Lyrics by Sappho (fragments 127, 136, 138, 151, 153, 107)

Aphrodite
Music by Ziya Tabassian and Savina Yannatou
Lyrics by Sappho

Orestes
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on a musical fragment dated 300 B.C.

Eros
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou
Lyrics by Sappho (fragments 130, 131, 126)

Junior Sophocles, Achilleus?
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on a musical fragment dated 200 B.C.
Lyrics by Sappho (fragment 112)

Stars around the beautiful moon
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on Paean of Limenios (fragments 1–7, dated 128-127 B.C. at Delphi)
Lyrics by Sappho (fragment 55)

You came and I was crazy for you
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on Paean of Limenios (fragments 17–20, dated 128–127 B.C. at Delphi)
Lyrics by Sappho (fragment 34)

Pros oligon esti to zein
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou, based on Seikilos, a musical fragment dated 200 B.C.

Sweet mother
Music by Constantinople and Savina Yannatou
Lyrics by Sappho (fragments 48–102)

Agapi Pou ‘Gines Dikopo Mahairi
Music by Manos Hadjidakis
Lyrics by Michalis Cacoyannis

Ferte Mou Ena Madolino
Music and lyrics by Manos Hadjidakis

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