Nausicaa: Opera in Three Acts by Peggy Glanville-Hicks
Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912–1990) was an Australian composer with an accomplished overseas career. The opera Nausicaa is her most substantial and critically admired work and is based on Robert Graves’ novel Homer’s Daughter (1955).
The novel explores Samuel Butler’s contention that Homer’s Odyssey was written by a princess living in ancient Sicily after the Trojan War.
Glanville-Hicks had worked with Graves on the libretto between 1956 and 1958, before moving from New York to Athens in 1959, where she devoted herself to intensive research into Greek demotic (folkloric) music.
The opera premiered at the Athens Festival to widespread international acclaim. The subsequent Composers Recordings Inc. recording, made soon after the premiere with the original cast, brought the work to a popular audience.
The opera successfully incorporates a range of Greek musical modes, including demotic tunes from various regions.
After long periods living in the US and Greece, Glanville-Hicks returned to Australia, where she died in 1990.
In her will she established the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Composers' House, a residency for young Australian composers, at her former home in Paddington, Sydney.