UCLA SNF Center Presents Polymnia: A Conversation, Online Feb. 25

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture presents Polymnia: A Conversation, via Zoom, on Saturday, February 25, 10-11 AM Pacific Time, as a follow-up to the world premiere of Polymnia, a chamber opera by Theodosia Roussos. They’ll share Hosted by Sharon Gerstel, Director of the UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture, the event includes the composer, librettist, oboist and performer Theodosia Roussos; director, dramaturg and producer Diana Wyenn; performer Natalie Buickians; and dramaturg Peter Kazaras sharing stories and insights from the unique process behind bringing Roussos’ family history to the stage and will also answer audience questions.

RSVP for the event online: https://bit.ly/3Irhge0.

Polymnia, described by Opera News as “haunting and beautiful,” is a debut experimental chamber opera by Theodosia Roussos which tells the story of a woman who responds with resilience and self-invention to the disruption of her life caused by war and trauma, and how her experience echoes through time.

Drawing from Sappho fragments of Sappho’s poetry as well as four generations of private family writings and oral history, composer and performer Roussos shares the story of her great-grandmother Polymnia Athanasiadis Pappas, a young woman whose family was expelled from its Thracian village by the Ottoman Turks during the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Roussos draws influence from her Greek Cypriot-American background and weaves elements of Byzantine and Greek folk music into the score.

Presented on January 21-22, 2023 at UCLA’s Little Theater in both Greek and English, Polymnia reveals the very personal and also political experience of diaspora— what is lost, what is retained, and what cannot be forgotten.


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