NEW YORK – A unique theatrical concert was presented at the Queens Theater in the Park by the Pancyprian Choir along with solo musicians and actors, on June 8. The artistic direction of the performance as well as the direction of the choir was by the talented Phyto Stratis, well-known for his high quality, thoughtful, and thought-provoking productions.
Through classic songs by Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarchakos and Manos Loizos, such as the Asteri tou Voria (Star of the North), Tora pou pas stin xenitia (Now that you go to a foreign country), Tis Diakaosinis (Of Justice) and many more, we watched Louis, an immigrant who is forced to leave his beloved homeland and family to seek a better life in America. On his journey, he takes along only his hopes, memories, and, of course, the songs of his homeland.
“Sing the homeland, keep your identity and your roots,” his mother tells him as she bids him farewell. Through these songs so connected with our regret and joy, represent our culture and we felt along with Louis, the pain of separation, the nostalgia for our homeland, our apprehension in our new homeland, and we identified with him, and his journey and choices so very similar to ours.
So Louis becomes a symbol for every one of us who have taken that same path and is in America today.
The soloists Vanessa Karveli, Tasos Karydis, Demetris Michael, Ariadne Panagopoulou, Aggeliki Psoni, Louis Panayiotou (who played the role of the immigrant), Theodoros, together with the outstanding choir of Pancyprian, who once again enthused the audience, Thodoros Petropoulos (who was also the narrator of the story), Ellie Tsachtani and Penny Tsinias. The role of Louis’ mother was Violeta Xifara.
“It is very important that we keep our roots, our culture, and to pass on to the young children who very easily lose their way, to lose their love for their homeland. The second, third generation of Greeks in America must be more Greek, more Cypriot than those who first came here amd made the long journey,” said Phyto Stratis, Artistic Director and Conductor of Pancyprian.
The show enchanted the members of the audience who sang along throughout the show and applauded enthusiastically for the musicians and actors and their excellent performance.
“It was a wonderful show, an impressive work that we could also produce on Broadway,” said Pancyprian President Philip Christopher.
“It was a very nice event. The Pancyprian always strives for the best and everything they present has to do with the homeland, Greece and Cyprus. We enjoyed it very much and hopefully we will also have the opportunity in the future to see similar events that bring us closer to our culture, our origins,” George Kitsios, President of the Greek American Homeowners Association, told The National Herald.
Professor George Melikokis, known for his contribution to the Greek education also said was moved by the musical performance.
The last songs Chrysoprasino fyllo (Gold-green leaf) and H Dikh mou Patrida (My home country) which refer to long-suffering Cyprus were powerfully moving. In his speech at the end of the event, Mr. Christopher reminded attendees that forty-four years have passed since the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus and that the goal is still freedom for Cyprus.
Among those present were His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, the new Consul General of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet and his wife Melina.
The Pancyprian Association Cultural Division presented In Foreign Land by the Pancyprian Choir, soloists and actors, directed by Phyto Stratis. (Photo by TNH/Kostas Bej)
The Pancyprian Association Cultural Division presented In Foreign Land by the Pancyprian Choir, soloists and actors, directed by Phyto Stratis. Louis Panayiotou, as the immigrant, embraces Violeta Xifara who played his mother. (Photo by TNH/Kostas Bej)