CULTURE

Glykeria sings Byzantine hymns

In one of Easter week’s less expected music performances, the popular singer Glykeria has joined forces with Giorgos Naoum, a physician at the Henry Dynan Red Cross Hospital in Athens who has been spurred by a second passion, Byzantine music. Naoum, as cantor, and Glykeria feature in a performance titled «The Passion and Mankind» at the Acropol Theater in Athens. Their series of performances, which conclude with one final night tomorrow, offer an ideal opportunity to further one’s acquaintance with Byzantine hymns. «It is known that Byzantine music represents the continuation of ancient Greek music and is one of the most fundamental sources of our contemporary musical civilization,» Naoum told Kathimerini. «These days, few individuals are aware of its capabilities,» he added. Byzantine music’s restricted exposure at churches, Naoum pointed out, has deprived listeners of tremendous musical depth. «Unfortunately, Byzantine music is not heard apart from in churches, despite its musical depth and the form’s tremendous interpreters. That’s always been my great concern,» Naoum said. «Why can’t this form of music accomplish more? The art of a cantor is pure. It’s not accompanied by rhythm and orchestra. What’s missing? Plots, dialogue, action…» he added, alluding to the form’s incongruity with more widely accepted modern forms. Naoum, a graduate of the Athens Conservatory, first delved into Byzantine music during his childhood days and, for several years now, has offered his services as a cantor at the Aghios Eleftherios Church in the capital’s Gyzi district. Several years ago, Naoum decided to write a Byzantine opera, titled «Etos 33,» which he hopes to present in the near future. His current Byzantine music project with Glykeria is directed by Nikos Perelis, with stage and costumes designed by Tota Priitsa.