Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos (center), founder and director of Psaltikon. (Photo: Phillip Bruk)
SOMERVILLE, MA – Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 29 Central Street in Somerville, will present Psaltikon’s ‘A Byzantine Christmas’ in the newly-renovated church on Saturday, December 17, 7:30 PM. Admission is free to the public; a suggested freewill offering of $30 will benefit Philoxenia House, a ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston that hosts individuals coming to Boston for medical care.
Nick and Helen Boulas have made the performance possible through their generous sponsorship. The Dormition Parish Council and St. Catherine’s Philoptochos Society are co-sponsors. The Parish Council will sponsor a wine and cheese reception for all attendees following the performance.
With its origins as a collaboration with Cambridge’s Greek Institute, ‘A Byzantine Christmas’ has grown into a staple of the Boston-area holiday concert scene. Now in its 12th year, Psaltikon is joined by acclaimed musicians from New England and Greece in a performance of Byzantine chant from the Christmas season, the joyous ‘kalanda’ (carols) from various regions of Greece, and Christmas readings by modern Greek authors.
“We want to throw open our doors and invite all of our friends and neighbors, not only in Somerville but also throughout the Boston metro area, to see our renovated home and share in our hospitality, while also hearing one of the best performing ensembles in New England sing their signature program,” said Fr. Anthony Tandilyan, pastor of Dormition Church. “Much of the community knows who we are from our Greek festival; this is a chance to experience another side of Dormition during the holidays, and even more important, to give back by supporting an important charity during this time of year.”
“Somerville has demonstrated to our church time and again how blessed we are to be here, and we want to say thank you to everybody in a way keeping with the spirit of the season,” said Diane Karavitis, Dormition’s Parish Council President, who added, “if Greek Christmas is all new to you, Dr. Antonopoulos and his group will teach you carols you didn’t know before; if you already know them, you’re welcome to sing along!”
Internationally-recognized performer and scholar Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos will lead an ensemble of acclaimed singers and world musicians in a program of Christmas and New Year’s music from various parts of Greece, as well as readings in English from the Christmas stories by the modern Greek authors Photios Kontoglou and Alexandros Papadiamantis.
A graduate of Brown University (2003), the New England Conservatory (2005), and City University London (2015), Dr. Antonopoulos is a regular member of Cappella Romana, with whom he has sung in concerts and festivals across Europe and the United States. He has appeared as a soloist on operatic and concert stages, while also performing with a variety of world music ensembles in both the U.S. and UK. He has presented at major conferences throughout the world, and can be heard as a singer on Cappella Romana’s internationally-acclaimed ‘Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia’ recording. He is also music director for UCLA/USC’s Bodies and Spirits: Soundscapes of Medieval Byzantium, a multidisciplinary project which focuses on the interplay of sound, space, and liturgy in late medieval churches.
Psaltikon is a Boston-based vocal ensemble whose mission is the preservation and dissemination of the musical heritage of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, including Byzantine chant of all periods. The word ‘Psaltikon’ refers to the medieval chant book for soloists which contained the most virtuosic chants from the now-extinct ‘Asmatic’ (Sung) Rite of Constantinople. More information is available online: http://www.psaltikon.org.
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