The Fairytale of Music

Performance

Storyteller: Vassiliki Nevrokopli

Music Ensemble “En Chordais”:
Kyriakos Petras: violin, nay, Constantinopolitan lyra
Kyriakos Kalaitzidis: oud, voice
Alkis Zopoglou: qanun
Petros Papageorgiou: percussion
Daniel Barbas: guitar

Sound: Leonidas Palaskas
Text: Vassiliki Nevrokopli
Music: Kyriakos Kalaitzidis
Video: Nikos Terpsiadis

Realisations

Thessaloniki Concert Hall, (five shows), Greece, February 2007.
Athens Concert Hall (five shows), Greece, May 2008.
Lincoln Center, New York, USA, March 2014.
Bernhard Theater, Zurich, (two shows), Switzerland, September 2015 .
The Silk Museum – Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, Soufli, Greece, December 2016.
Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, Thessaloniki, Greece, December 2016.
Werkraum Schoepflin Lörach, Germany, (six shows) April 2017.
Putzbrunn Cultural Center, Munich, February 2018.
Ancient Theater of Maronia, Grece, August 2018.
Komotini Concert Hall, Greece, December 2019,
and dozens of presentations in Primary Schools in Greece and Cyprus.

When the heroine of this story seeks a husband, she does it not with her eyes, but her ears. Based on Vasiliki Nevrokoplis’ work of the same title, this multimedia production focuses on Theodora, a blind princess who vows to marry a man who can capture her heart through music.

“The Fairytale of Music” is an original musical performance who did a very successful tour in many eminent concert halls such the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the Lincoln Center (New York), the Bernhard Theater (Zurich), the Werkraum Schoepflin (Lörach), the Putzbrunn Cultural Center (Munich), the Athens Concert Hall, the Ancient Theater of Maroneia and many others.

“The Fairytale of Music” is based on the homonymous book by the award-winning author, Vasiliki Nevrokopi, which takes place during the Byzantine period. The book has as a protagonist a blind girl; her name Theodora. Blindness leads her to a particular relationship with music and when it reaches the age of marriage, she asks her father to invite musicians in order to choose the one who will give her the light with his music:

… I want music that, if you are happy, makes you even happier, and if you are sad, lifts from your heart the burden of the tears that are sealed there. I want the music that is a consolation when you are alone, a light when you are blind. He who plays that music, father, will become my man.

So, musicians arrive from different cities of the Mediterranean and Theodora has three days to choose… The project gives the oportunity to explore musical instruments and melodies from various traditions of the Mediterranean and deals with the issue of the issue of disability and cultural diversity. The naration of the fairytale by the writer accompanies music composed by Kyriakos Kalaitzidis which performs live on stage the internationally acclaimed music ensemble “En Chordais”. A unic show for kids and adults!

From Myth to Paramythia

Greek mythology abounds in episodes concerned with music: the musical contest of Apollo with the inventor of the flute Marsayas, where the struggle of national art and tradition against foreign influence is revealed, or according to other interpretations, where we see the definitive victory of vocal over instrumental music; the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus’ ability to descend into Hades mirrors the faith of the Greek people in the penetrating and overwhelming power of music that conquers over death; the story of Linus, to whom the invention of the three-stringed lute is ascribed; the mythical song of the Sirens that bewitched sailors, and many others.

Fairytales (paramythia in Greek), as we heard them as children, are also of course based on the element of myth. But etymologically and functionally they are linked primarily to paramythia (solace) or consolation, often revealing a true reality.

In many fairytales of our childhood years, town criers throughout the length and breadth of a kingdom proclaim that the young nobleman and princess are seeking a worthy spouse, depicting a reality of Byzantium that is familiar to us from history. Something similar lies behind the events as they unfold in the “Fairytale of Music”. And it is not only the reality of the town criers who tell abroad the search for the ideal groom. The fairytale takes place in Byzantine Maroneia in Thrace.

That is where our own Theodora is born: a little girl who is different to all the others. Her dissimilarity begins from the fact that she is blind. Yet that is what makes her perceive and sense the world in a unique way, through her other senses, and principally through her hearing. And so she develops a strong relationship with sounds and silence. Her relationship with sounds leads her to her love for music. Her relationship with silence, over time, makes her wise. Her fame spreads throughout the whole Mediterranean. One day the time for her to marry arrives. But Theodora has decided that she can only marry a musician. And after the announcement is proclaimed, musicians from all parts of the Mediterranean begin to arrive. And thus yet another historical reality is presented here, that of the co-existence and of the diverse relationships between the people of the sea of ancient cultures and the great religions. A cohesion that is imprinted in the topography, the climate, the architecture, the music and the people, without overlooking the many differences and distinct characteristics that may exist. The perpetual movement, exchange and influence of cultural discord and traditional or circumstantial enmity.

Even nowadays, in our troubled times, the need for paramythia, or the solace of tales, as well as respect for the “other” still remains: for the economic migrant, the political refugee, the person with health problems, or the person wih special needs. The fairytale, and especially “The Fairytale of Music”, is like a refuge of understanding and conciliation, sharing and love for the person who is different, and it conveys, among other things, messages same with the ones that the project MORE seeks to convey. Before ending this brief note, two words on the musical casing of the fairytale:

It is true that “The Fairytale of Music” is an exceptional text that moves us and that inspires us in many different ways. How much more so is this true of its special relationship with music and the dramatic possibilities offered by its musical presentation.