NEW YORK – The Cultural Ministry of Saint George and Saint Demetrios’ Church in Manhattan celebrated World Poetry Day 2021 on March 21, with the streaming of ‘Singing Poetry,’ a Cyprus New York Production under the musical and artistic direction of Phyto Stratis.
The program consisted of songs composed by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Manos Loizos, and Michalis Terzis, with the poetry of Odysseas Elytis, Giorgos Seferis, Sappho, Kostis Palamas, and Gabriel Garcia Lorca, and was performed by the talented singers Aggeliki Psonis, Ariadne Panagopoulou, Demetris Michael, and Louis Panayiotou. Excerpts from the Old Testament’s poem Asma Asmaton were narrated by the gifted performers Anna Tsoukala Post and Theodoros Petropoulos who brought their dynamic energy to the poetry.
‘Singing Poetry’ premiered on March 21 on Saint George and Saint Demetrios Church’s Facebook page and on their Youtube channel.
More information is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/St.GeorgeandDemetrios.
Stratis offered the welcoming remarks noting that poetry is read but it can also be sung and introduced the talented artists who brought such emotion to the interpretation of some of the most famous songs by the renowned Greek composers mentioned above.
The performance began with the moving Me to lichno tou astrou, followed by Tis agapis aimata, both composed by Theodorakis and with lyrics by Elytis, the Nobel Prize-winning poet.
Stratis also introduced pianist Gregory Post who accompanied his wife, Anna Tsoukala Post on the song Marina, highlighting the newlyweds’ artistry in an emotional performance.
The concert concluded with the powerful To Spiti pou Genithika from the poem by Kostis Palamas, set to music by Michalis Terzis. The song speaks to so many who are far from home for a variety of reasons and during these difficult times of the pandemic it is even more profound.
In his concluding remarks, Stratis thanked all those who participated and made the event possible. He then introduced the presiding priest of the community Fr. Spyridon Chatzis who thanked Stratis for once again bringing such an artistic performance to the community. Fr. Chatzis noted that the church’s role as a space for art and civilization goes back to Constantinople and offers a light in dark times. He thanked the artists for their efforts and for bringing the production to the church hall and wished everyone the best for a good spring and for the pandemic to end and allow everyone to return to the church and to their work and to once again fill the church hall as it should be for future events.
Stratis then handed over the mic to a few of the attendees, including members of the community’s Parish Council, who express their thanks and congratulations and looked forward to upcoming productions by the talented artists. The number of attendees was limited during the live taping of the event in accordance with safety protocols.
Among those present, Nektarios Antoniou, the Principal Cantor at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and its Director of Culture, congratulated Stratis and the performers for their excellent interpretation of the songs and the wonderful texts in this latest production.
More information about Cyprus New York Productions is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/cyprusnewyorkproductions/posts/.