As retold by Gerald Papasian
“Lost photos and a lost burial place for the first and unique prima donna of the history of Armenian opera! Is that fair?” exclaims theatre scholar Varsig Grigorian in the opening lines of her essay on Shazig Keuyluyian, nicknamed Lousnag (Little Moon) for her beauty and talent.
She was born into an affluent Armenian family in the Ottoman Empire’s cosmopolitan city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in the European district of Pera. She lost her father, Sarkis, during her early childhood, which changed the family’s financial situation, leaving mother and daughter in destitution.