Aède of the Ocean and Land: A Play in Seven Acts

Aède of the Ocean and Land
A Play in Seven Acts by Noor Inayat Khan
Directed by Elli Papakonstantinou * Music by Shirish Korde
Live Video Performance by Stephanie Sherriff
Featuring Dashon Burton, Jen Zetlan, Emily Pulley,
Lito Messini & The Cassatt String Quartet

Monday, September 14, 2020
1 pm New York, 6 pm London, 8 pm Athens

***A Zoom Live Music-Cinema Event***


Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944) is widely remembered as a hero and martyr of the Second World War. Her play, Aède of the Ocean and Land, written in verse, uses Homer’s Odyssey as its framework.”Noor Inayat Khan delicately infuses Homer’s epic poem with Sufi philosophy and weaves a narrative that is at once an ode to her parents as well as her own interpretation of the journey of life.” (Shrabani Basu) Noor reimagines Homer’s epic. The journey of Ulys in Aède is an allegory representing Noor’s father, the Indian mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan’s, spiritual journey in the West, while the seven acts and the structure of Aède recall the seven valleys traversed by the birds in Farid Attar’s medieval Sufi classic “The Conference of the Birds.”

This live music-cinema zoom performance is directed by Elli Papakonstantinou. The music for Aède is composed by Shirish Korde. The score draws on classical South Asian as well as contemporary American and European musical languages.

Aède will be performed live simultaneously from Athens, New York, San Francisco, Den Haag and Rome via Zoom. The 22 artists involved are spanning ten time zones, representing five countries.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite for $20 each. There is also a special $50 Artistic Donation ticket designed to help pay the performers, all of whom are professional and performing from their homes while largely unemployed due to the pandemic. All donations are welcome.

When purchasing tickets, please choose if you plan to watch live or to watch a video after. If you choose the video option, buying a ticket will enable you to watch a recording via Vimeo, to be made available within one week of the live performance and allowing 24-hours to watch once the link is activated.

If you are not able to attend the live event, please note that as with any performance, the live experience will be quite different and somewhat interactive, including that you will be able to adjust computer settings to your liking as you watch.

We are incredibly grateful to this cast of professionals, performing from their homes because of the pandemic, and welcome donations of all amounts.




Monday, September 14, 2020
10 am San Francisco, 1 pm New York, 6 pm London, 7 pm Paris, 8 pm Athens, 10 pm Lahore, 10:30 pm Delhi, 3 am (Tues) Sydney, 5 am (Tues) Auckland
Please check timeanddate.com to adjust the performance time to your time zone.

Any questions about purchasing tickets may be directed to the Astana in Richmond, Virginia, astana@inayatiyya.org.



Noor Inayat Khan, Playwright

Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944) is an iconic figure increasingly known worldwide as a heroine of World War II. Her story has been told in articles, books, paintings, plays, dance performances, television shows, and movies, and her life honored through a British stamp, a bust in London’s Gordon Square, and various special holidays.

Noor’s story is uniquely interesting because she was both a British spy and also the daughter of the Indian mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), and the American Ora Ray Baker. As a young woman Noor was a writer of poems and children’s stories. It is not known exactly when she wrote the play Aède of the Ocean and Landwww.noorinayatkhan.org

Elli Papakonstantinou, Director

Papakonstantinou creates live performances with an emphasis on opera, new plays and new media. While revisiting the classics her art connects notions of myth and major narratives of our days in immersive experiences.

Papakonstantinou has created and presented her work in international festivals and venues like: Edinburgh Festival (UK), LaMaMa ETC, (USA), the West End (UK), Prague Quadrennial 15 (CZ), National Theatre of Greece (GR), Inauguration Ceremony of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (EG), Operadagen Festival (HL), and more. She is the founder of the theatre company ODC Ensemble.

Twice a Fulbright awarded artist, her work “the Cave” was awarded a “Music Theatre NOW 2018- 19 international Award.” Most recent creations (2019) include “Oedipus” that premiered at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), New York, “The Kindly Ones” presented at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial in Austria & invited at the Avignon Festival (2020) & the French National institute “la Chartreuse”, (Centre National des écritures du Spectacle). During the COVID lockdown she conceived & directed the zoom performance “Traces of Antigone” which is still on international tour including upcoming Romaeuropa Festival (October 2020). elli.site

Shirish Korde, Composer

Shirish Korde has composed works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, soloists, and music theater including opera. His music has been acclaimed widely and performed in the U.S, Europe, and Asia. Currently, he is working on a large-scale work on the theme of climate change for the South Asian Symphony Orchestra, Oceans Rising, and collaborating with David Lomeli and the Dallas Opera on a new project based on Farid Attar’s Conference of the Birds.  shirishkorde.com

Stephanie Sheriff, Video Artist

Stephanie Sherriff is an interdisciplinary artist and performer currently based in San Francisco, California. Her work with sound, video, and plants is ephemeral in nature and culminates as time-based installations and performances that deconstruct fragments of daily life through experimental processes. She received a BA from San Francisco State University in 2014 and an MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University in 2019. Her work has been featured at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, the Sfendoni Theater in Athens, Greece, and numerous creative spaces within California including Gray Area, The Lab, Artists Television Access, Center for New Music, and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. http://ssherriff.com


The Cast

Dashon Burton, Ulys

Praised for his “nobility and rich tone,” (The New York Times) bass-baritone Dashon Burton has established a world-wide career in opera, recital, and in many works with orchestra. In key elements of his repertoire — Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the Mass in B Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, Brahms’ Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem — Dashon is a frequent guest with ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Boston Baroque; the Carmel and Bethlehem Bach Choir Festivals, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New Jersey, Oregon, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He is a regular guest with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, appearing there in Brahms’ and Mozart’s Requiems, the groundbreaking animated production of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and, most recently, at home and on tour in Europe and Japan in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. dashonburton.com

Emily Pulley, Penelope

Acclaimed soprano Emily Pulley’s radiant voice and electrifying acting have won her both national and international acclaim on the operatic stages. Not settling for complacency in her already established career, Pulley continues to add some of opera’s greatest roles to her repertoire, with a recent début as the title role of Bizet’s Carmen with Central City Opera, Mrs. De Rocher in Minnesota Opera’s production of Dead Man Walking, as well as Becky in Morning Star with On Site Opera. Last season, Ms. Pulley applied her tremendous talent to Madeline in Three Decembers with Nashville Opera, Desiree in A Little Night Music with Madison Opera, Martha in Faust with Opera Omaha, and Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore with Eugene Opera, continuing to lay claim to some of the most luscious and comic mezzo-soprano repertoire. This season she will join both Los Angeles Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of The Light in the Piazza, covering Renee Fleming in the leading role. uiatalent.com/artists/emily-pulley

Jennifer Zetlan, Telemachus

Soprano Jennifer Zetlan is internationally recognized for her artistry and captivating stage presence. She has been seen and heard on opera and concert stages worldwide, as well as on Broadway. The 2019-2020 season included the reprise of her role as Ellen in Ellen West (Ricky Ian Gordon/Frank Bidart) with the Prototype Festival, will reprise the role of Ginsburg in Scalia/Ginsburg (Derrick Wang) with Opera Carolina and Opera Grand Rapids, and she was the cover of Queen Tye in Akhnaten (Glass) with the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2017-1019 seasons, Ms. Zetlan was soprano soloist in Carmina burana with the Kansas City Symphony, Fauré’s Requiem at St. John of the Divine, Ginsburg in Scalia/Ginsburg with Opera Delaware, the title role in Ellen West with Opera Saratoga, as well as the cover of Laura Fleet in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Marnie. Ms. Zetlan created the title role in Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt (Musto/Einhorn) for On Site Opera, reprised her role in Crossing (Aucoin) with American Repertory Theatre, reprised the role of Fanny in the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star, and joined the San Francisco Symphony as Xenia in Boris Godunovjenniferzetlan.com

Lito Messini, Calypso, Nymph, Eurycleia

Born in Athens.  Collaborations with Athens Camerata-Musica Atenea, Symphony Orchestra of Athens Municipality, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Linbury Theatre of the ROH, Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Athens Concert Hall, Centre of Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) of ITU in Istanbul, Brooklyn Academy of Music NY (ODC ensemble & Elli Papakonstantinou).  A founding member of the opera company RAFí, active since 2012 and collaborating with all the important music and theatre institutions in Greece (Greece National Opera, Athens concert Hall, Athens Epidaurus Festival).  https://lito-messini.site123.me

Gemma Carbone

Kelvin Chan

Adrian Frieling

Elias Husiak

Laura Jobin-Acosta

Katerina Papachristou

Valia Papachristou

Julia Rabia Rahm


Srinivas Reddy, sitar

Amit Kavthekar, tabla

Jonathan Hess, percussion

The Cassatt String Quartet:

  • Muneko Otani, violin
  • Jennifer Leshnower, violin
  • Ah Ling Neu, viola
  • Elizabeth LatifaNoor Anderson, cello

Co-produced by Sara Tarana Jobin on behalf of the Astana, and the ODC Ensemble in Athens, Greece.

Co-presented by The Center for Contemporary Opera.






The Center for Contemporary Opera is focused on being environmentally friendly, and aims to lower its carbon emission. This production is the first experimental carbon neutral project. CCO has been awarded the OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


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