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date: 29 January 2020

Nausicaalocked

  • Thérèse Radic

Extract

Opera in three acts with a prologue and interludes by Peggy Glanville-Hicks to a libretto by Robert Graves after his novel Homer’s Daughter; Athens, Herodes Atticus Theatre, 19 August 1961.

The plot is based on the Odyssey, with Homer’s Penelope becoming the Princess Nausicaa (soprano) and his Odysseus becoming Aetheon (baritone), a shipwrecked Cretan nobleman. Homer’s shooting contest, where Penelope’s 50 suitors compete for her, becomes a marriage tournament. The subplot derives from Graves’s conceit that the Odyssey is the work not of Homer but of Nausicaa.

Glanville-Hicks spent two years researching into Greek folk music in order to find a proper musical base for Graves’s libretto; she collaborated with him on the work in 1956 in Mallorca. Greek modes and metres, rather than actual folk material, are combined with 12-note procedure in the score, which draws on idioms from Epirus, the Peleponnese, Crete and the Dodecanese. The opera, structured on a symphonic plan derived from ...

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