"Despo", the first Hellenic tragic melodrama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Pavlos Carrer [Paolo Carrer] decided to compose "Despo" in summer 1875 after visiting the then newly-founded Athens Conservatoire. As part of his high mission to establish a national music school with opera as its crowning achievement, according to the model of European national music schools, the composer undertook to set to music a melodramatic work, entitled "Despo", written by a drama teacher at the Conservatoire, Antonios Manousos, in order for it to be used as a practice piece by the “students of vocal and instrumental music”. Apart from being a drama teacher, the Corfiot Antonios Manousos was also a prolific poet, author and translator, distinguished for his contribution to the collection and publication of folk songs. As a result, the one-act play he suggested to Carrer, The tragic death of Despo and her daughters-in-law at Dimoula’s tower, is imbued with his hands-on and in-depth contact with the Greek folk literary tradition, and theatre.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreek Dances / Despo
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherGreek National Opera
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Music
  • Musicology
  • opera
  • Opera studies
  • Creative industries
  • performing arts
  • music theatre
  • cultural heritage
  • Modern Greece
  • Modern Greek Culture
  • Modern Greek Studies
  • Ionian opera
  • Ionian islands
  • History
  • Historical Musicology
  • Nineteenth century literature and culture
  • Nineteenth century music
  • Nineteenth century studies


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