Δευτέρα, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

MARIA CALLAS AWARDS 2017 (Photos)

Saturday, 2 December 2017. At the Hotel Grande Bretagne of Athens took place the glamorous "OPERA GALA MARIA CALLAS 2017” and the "MARIA CALLAS AWARDS 2017".  
At the program presented famous arias and duets from operas performed by Maria Callas as well as arias and duets from the operas "Prometheus Bound" and "Olympic Flame" by Panagiotis Karousos.
Among with the composer the Gala featuring the Greek opera stars, soprano Irini Konsta, bass Vasilis Asimakopoulos, soprano Vanessa Kalkanis, and tenor Theodoros Birakos. The fine artists accompanied pianist Pantelis Legakis. Composer Panagiotis Karousos presented the Gala.
It important to notice that the piano of the concert was Maria Callas authentic piano that she used at her stay at the Hotel Grande Bretagne when visited Greece for her concerts and opera performances.
The composer and the artists Awarded with the "MARIA CALLAS AWARDS 2017" by Maestro Eleftherios Kalkanis, principal conductor of Athens Symphony Orchestra. The composer Panagiotis Karousos among with organizers also awarded Eleftherios Kalkanis and other selected guests.
Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri present Maria Callas

Maestro Eleftherios Kalkanis

Soprano Irini Konsta

Soprano Vanessa Kalkanis

Tenor Theodor Birakos

Bass Vasilis Asimakopoulos

Pianist Pantelis Legakis

Painter Maria Gilipathi

Christine Papathanassiou, Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Angeliki Makrionitou

Tim Ananiadis

Minister Giannopoulos, Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri

Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Giannis Konstantinidis

Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Minister Athanasios Giannopoulos, Giannis Konstantinidis

Emanouil Konstantinidis, Marika Katsani, Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri
Dr Chrysoula Tsigkri, Pantelis Diakogeorgiou, Giannis Konstantinidis

Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Evi Stefanidi

Nikos Konstantinidis, Ekaterini Diakogeorgiou, Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Giannis Konstantinidis

Toukas Dimitrios (Athens Association), Emanouil Karanikas, Dr Chrisoula Tsigkri, Mrs Touka
Dr Chrysoula Tsigkri, Dr Florin Marinesku






Κυριακή, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

A GLAMOROUS OPERA GALA “MARIA CALLAS 2017” AT THE HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE

Saturday, 2 December 2017. The Hotel Grande Bretagne of Athens presented with a Great Success the 40th Years Celebration for Maria Callas death. OPERA GALA “MARIA CALLAS 2017”
A the Winter Garden City Lounge of the Hotel Grande Bretagne, the most prestigious and historical hotel of Greece at the central Syntagma Square of Athens took place a glamorous Opera Gala dedicated to the most famous Opera Diva of the history the Great Maria Callas. For the occasion the signers performed at the authentic piano that Maria Callas uses at her stay in the Hotel when visited Greece for Concerts and performances.
The successful program included famous arias and duets from operas performed by Maria Callas as well as arias from the operas "Prometheus Bound" and "Olympic Flame" by Panagiotis Karousos.
The impressive Opera Gala featured Greek Opera Stars: soprano Irini Konsta, bass Vasilis Asimakopoulos, soprano Vanessa Kalkanis, and tenor Theodoros Birakos. The fine opera soloists accompanied at the piano by Pantelis Legakis. The composer Panagiotis Karousos presented the program. 
The opera stars took many applauses by the audience and all get an honorific "Maria Callas Medal"
Between Guest of Honors were Dimitrios Kremastinos, Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament, Minister Athanasios Gianopoulos, the historian Dr Florin Marinescu, Eleftherios Kalkanis, principal conductor of Athens Symphony Orchestra, Tim Ananiadis, General Manager of Hotel Grande Bretagne, Christine Papathanassiou, Director of Public Relations, Dr Chrisoula Tsigri, School Counselor, Giannis Konstantinidis, Entrepreneur, and many others. 
Maria Callas, Opera Gala Program:
"Ritorna Vincitor" from Verdi's Aida: Irini Konsta, soprano
"La donna è mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto: Theodoros Birakos, tenor
Aria of Deianira from the Olympic Flame: Irini Konsta, soprano
Aria of Prometheus: Vasilis Asimakopoulos, bass
Aria of Oceanid from Prometheus: Vanessa Kalkanis, soprano
Duet from Olympic Flame “Herakles & Eyristheus: V. Asimakopoulos, Th. Birakos
Aria of Hermes from Prometheus: Theodoros Birakos, tenor
"Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from Puccini's La Rondine: Vanessa Kalkanis, soprano
"Addio! speranza ed anima" duet from Verdi's Rigoletto: Th. Birakos, V. Kalkanis
Aria of Banco from Verdi's Macbeth: Vasilis Asimakopoulos, bass
Flowers' duet from Lakmé by Leo Delibes: Vanessa Kalkanis, Irini Konsta
La Traviata - Brindisi (Libiamo ne' lieti calici) 

Maria Callas, (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977), was a Greek-American soprano, and one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Many critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
La Scala mounted many new productions specially for Callas by directors such as Herbert von Karajan, Margherita Wallmann, Franco Zeffirelli and, most importantly, Luchino Visconti.[16] Visconti stated later that he began directing opera only because of Callas,[20] and he directed her in lavish new productions of La vestale, La traviata, La sonnambula, Anna Bolena and Iphigénie en Tauride.
Callas's voice has been difficult to place in the modern vocal classification or Fach system, especially since in her prime, her repertoire contained the heaviest dramatic soprano roles as well as roles usually undertaken by the highest, lightest and most agile coloratura sopranos. Regarding this versatility, Tullio Serafin said, "This woman can sing anything written for the female voice".
Maestro Eleftherios Kalkanis with his wife pianist Angeliki Makrionitou
Music critic John Ardoin has argued that Callas was the reincarnation of the 19th-century soprano sfogato. Callas herself appears to have been in agreement not only with Ardoin's assertions that she started as a natural mezzo-soprano, but also saw the similarities between herself and Pasta and Malibran.

In her final years she sang in Medea, Norma, and Tosca, most notably her Paris, New York, and London Toscas of January–February 1964, and her last performance on stage, on July 5, 1965, at Covent Garden.
Composer Panagiotis Karousos with soprano Vanessa Kalkanis

Painter Maria Gill with composer Panagiotis Karousos


Τρίτη, 14 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Porphyra's Rock Opera, “Anna and Vladimir,” wins 1st prize at 2017 Russian Youth Forum!

Presenting Anna and Vladimir. Photo by Raphael Pungin
On October 27th, Billy and Despina Chrissochos and George Selinsky were invited to present the Rock Opera "Anna and Vladimir" at the 2017 Russian Youth Forum of New York, which featured over 200 attendees including leaders of Russian American youth organizations, state assemblymen, clergy, and the newly confirmed Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov. Out of 9 youth projects that were selected for presentations, "Anna and Vladimir" was awarded first place by the the Government of Moscow and the Gorchakov fund.
Here is the exclusive trailer from the event:
Porphyra Rock Opera Commercial (#2)

Presenters of "Anna and Vladimir" George Selinsky,Billy Chrissochos and Despina Chrissochos 
Here is the exclusive trailer from the event:
Porphyra Rock Opera Commercial (#2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLnA3nCnFgw&feature=em-subs_digest
 George Selinsky,Billy Chrissochos Photo by Natasha Danilina. 
The newly appointed ambassador of the Russian Federation, Mr. Anatoly Antonov. 

Δευτέρα, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Veterans Day in a Greek Orthodox Church

A wonderful write up by my good friend George Selinsky:
A visit to a Greek Orthodox Church on Veterans Day
Today I had the fortune of visiting the Kimisis tis Theotokou (The Dorimition of the Mother of God) Greek Orthodox Church located in Southhampton, New York, perhaps the most popular town in eastern Long Island. I always find Greek churches interesting to visit, as I learn something new about how parishes function and how clergy engage with their parishioners. What I found striking about this parish was that just before the great entrance, Fr. Constantine paused to address the young acolytes who were also attendants of the Sunday school, and described a part of the liturgy to them in detail. Later on, Fr. Alexander also described in detail the 40 day blessing of a child, including the origin of the service.
I noticed a fair amount of elderly parishioners around me, and it turned out that today was a special commemoration for veterans. About 15 veterans were awarded icons and recognized for their service. At least 5 of them were involved in the second world war (which would put their age well into the 90's). Most of them had received communion during the liturgy, and approached the solea unassisted. Others were veterans from Vietnam, Korea, and also one was from the 'Cuban missile crisis'. It was impressive to see that even though these men had served in American uniform, they remained strongly attached to their Greek Orthodox roots.
Before leaving I was able to talk to several parishioners and learn that there was a significant Slavic, Romanian, and even Georgian contingent that not only attends services but even holds regular gatherings at the parish building. The parish also holds regular events including concerts and art exhibits. It was inspiring to see such a vibrant pan-Orthodox community all the way out at the eastern end of Long Island that appears to be thriving.
Billy Chrissochos

Κυριακή, 13 Αυγούστου 2017

"The Starmaker's Prophecy" New Album

Greetings dear friends. Our new album, "The Starmaker's Prophecy" is finally out!

Our new album, "The Starmaker's Prophecy" is out!
Get your digital copy of the new album at CDBaby:
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/porphyra3
And ITUNES:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-starmakers-prophecy/id1260118965
We are now available for radio interviews and press.

Our HOT new single is a modern retelling of an old 1900’s rembetiko (Greek blues), swinging 1960’s surf music, belly dancing epic!
Porphyra - Misirlou
Album: The Starmaker's Prophecy
Via Nobody's Records
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDdqjOuMyUc

Here are all the details about it!

ALBUM NOTES

This album features songs from the entire “Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera” Trilogy.
Full bio on CDBABY and website.

STUDIO MUSICIANS

Vocalist: Elaine Tuttle ("Frontiers" Journey Tribute, "Girls, Girls, Girls" Motley Crue Tribute)
Guest Vocalist: Mike Cotoia (ex "Ross the Boss" -classic Manowar Tribute)
Mike "Risko" Savvas - Guitar, Tzoura, and additional Bass
Billy Chrissochos - Guitar
Grzegorz "Greg" Swirszcz - Bass
Richard Khuzami - Percussionist
Tracey "Tre Boogie" Beavers - Drums   


Elaine Tuttle
Guest musicians:
Keyboards on "St. Basil's Hymn" by Jesse Pieper
Guest Guitar solo on "The Tale of Bygone Years" by Mark "M.E." Edwards (solo artist and founding member of Overlorde)
Guest Guitar outro solo on "Forever" by Aady Pandit 
Additional Bass by Mike “Risko” Savvas 

Lyrics and Music by Porphyra
Additional Contributors:
*"City of Gold" lyrics by Christos Alexandrou. Music by Christos Alexandrou, Mike "Risko" Savvas, Billy Chrissochos and Aady Pandit.

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Aady Pandit 
Produced by Aady Pandit, Billy Chrissochos and Mike "Risko" Savvas

Cover Artwork by Vassilios "Billy" Chrissochos
Title "The Return of the Porphyrogenita"
              
NOTES ON THE SONGS

1)         City of Gold: Takes us on a captivating trip through the enchanting city of Constantinople.
2)         Always on My Mind: Is an epic semi ballad, anthemic, prog/hard rock love story from Anna and Vladimir.
3)            Misirlou: A new twist on an old classic Rembetiko Greek song from the beginning of the last century.
4)            Forever: This is the story of Odysseus and Circe.
5)         I am Nobody: This is the story of Odysseus and his confrontation with the Cyclops Polyphemus.
6)         St. Basil’s Hymn: Our new arrangement and take for the classic Greek New Year’s Carol.
7)         The Tale of Bygone Years: A chapter taken from the Russian Primary Chronicle depicting Princess Anna Porphyrogenita of Greece (Byzantium) and her wedding to Grand Prince Vladimir of the Kievan Rus.
8)         Hook Through my Heart: Another anthemic love story from Anna and Vladimir.
9)         The Starmaker’s Prophecy: A monster space prog/metal epic.
10)       St. Basil’s Hymn (Instrumental): BONUS instrumental take of the classic Greek New Year’s Carol.


BIOGRAPHY

In 1998, Billy Chrissochos co-founded the Hard Rock/Power Metal group Phoenix Reign (previously Phoenix) which in 2007 spawned a cult classic album called “Destination Unknown.” In 2013, the outfit was re-branded as Porphyra and in 2014 introduced to the world a new album called “Faith, Struggle, Victory” that would spawn a Rock Opera. This inspirational new album was labeled “Melodic Metal for the Soul” and “Byzantine Rock” by the press.  New York City finally got the eclectic, modern Rock band it deserved that incorporated Hard Rock and Symphonic Metal with Greek folk, punk, progressive and classical textures.

The MMA inspired music video for “No Fear” featuring guitarist Mike “Risko” Savvas and directed by fellow co-guitarist Billy Chrissochos was an Official Selection in the Williamsburg Film Festival in September 2015.

Billy Chrissochos
On May 3rd, 2015 Porphyra the band does the impossible. A dream becomes a reality and years of hard work come to fruition. “Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera. Anna and Vladimir: The love that ROCKED the world,” debuted and electrified Zankel Hall at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. The music based on the album with additional compositions, dances and so much more, thrilled the finicky NY crowd.  This was the first Greek Inspired Rock Opera of its kind and the first to debut at Carnegie Hall’s renowned Zankel Theater. “This was a first step towards taking our opera to the Broadway stage,” states founder Billy Chrissochos.

Set in the year 988AD, the Heroic Age of Basil II Emperor of Byzantium, the story chronicles the real-life romance between Princess Anna Porphyrogenita and Grand Prince Vladimir of the Kievan Rus. An incredible story of Love, War and Peace brought to life through Hard Rock and Greek Folk music, dancing, actors, and a full rock orchestra.

On May 13th-15th, 2016, “Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera,” made its triumphant Off Broadway debut for a three day limited run at the famed West Village Players Theatre.  With more songs and characters the shows electrified the weekend’s audiences.  The group and show was awarded and is now officially under the auspices of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its Greek affiliate UNESCO Club of the Department of Piraeus and Islands. Another surprise is that the album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” won BEST ROCK ALBUM in the Akademia Music Awards in 2016.

Community leaders finally began to see the educational benefit and entertainment value of “Anna and Vladimir: The love that ROCKED the world.” On June 2nd-3rd, 2017, for three shows, the updated production debuted at the historic Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY. The show was proudly presented by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and UNESCO recognized the Chamber for their cross-cultural presentation of Porphyra’s Rock Opera during a news conference on Friday, May 13, 2017. This press conference brought the production team for the first time to the Asian community of Flushing.

The production is critically hailed as “PICK OF THE WEEK” from “It’s in Queens” popular online blog, the Queens Tribune and Queens Gazette. And the press, local and civic leaders rave and give their seal of approval! The opera incorporates rock and roll, dance, and theatrics to entertain and educate people on a fascinating era of history (with lessons for today).


July of 2017 Porphyra released their highly expected follow up album “The Starmaker’s Prophecy” featuring new songs that are included in the updated Rock Opera. The album is released under their own label, “Nobody’s Records,” in conjunction with UNESCO.

Guitarist Billy Chrissochos with guitarist/Tzoura player Mike “Risko” Savvas, drummer Tracey “Tre” Beavers, internationally renowned percussionist Richard Khuzami along with powerhouse vocalist Elaine Tuttle and some of the best talent in NYC are ready to bring this amazing new album and unique Rock Opera to the masses.

Hope to see you all there!

Porphyra Foundation Inc, is a not for profit 501 (c) 3 and every donation (is tax deductible) and purchase of merchandise will go towards helping this production on its way to Broadway.

ENJOY and please write a review and do not forget to tell your friends about us. Like us on FACEBOOK.

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HERE IS WHAT THE PRESS, ALONG WITH LOCAL AND CIVIC LEADERS, HAD TO SAY ABOUT PORPHYRA, A GRECIAN ROCK OPERA, THE BAND AND THE MUSIC!

“The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present this wonderful cross-cultural performance of Anna & Vladimir. We hope this collaboration with Porphyra will strengthen our relationship between the Greek community and the many New Yorkers from around the world who now live and work in Flushing. We invite you to join us in this unique celebration of New York’s most diverse and dynamic community!”
Taehoon Kim, President of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce.

 “My small country, Greece, which is going through troubled times now, has a very strong weapon; its culture, history and the arts. Byzantine History is a most attractive history and the way Porphyra has worked to create this very important show, has breathed new life to the pivotal story of Anna and Vladimir. On behalf of UNESCO club of the department of Piraeus and Islands I congratulate the work of our Director of Modern Music in NY, Mr. Billy Chrissochos, on his mission to educate and build Cross–Cultural bridges between the Asian and Greek communities and the greater American public.”
Mr. Ioannis Maronitis, President of the Club for UNESCO Piraeus and Islands and Member of the Board of the World Federation of Associations and Club Centers for UNESCO.

“Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera is a wonderful blend of Greek history and modern rock music. A new experience everyone should see.”
Queens Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris.

“Only in Flushing can you find Greek folk music, belly dancing and a full rock orchestra performing in sync. The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce put together a unique and colorful production of this classic tale, and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to bear witness right here in Queens.”
Peter Koo NYC Council Member 20th District, Queens.
 
The Spin on the relationship of Anna Porphyrogenitos and Prince Vladimir was well presented by the talented music and actors performing on stage.  I enjoyed all aspects of the performance from music to costumes and movement of the theme through the various acts of the opera; an effective way to bring alive historical themes from the past. Perhaps youth could come to appreciate history through such performances.”
Reverend Father Paul Palesty, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church.

"This was a thrilling historical journey that has never been explored in such a unique way.”
Igor Kochan, President Russian Youth of the USA.

“A live band playing their original rock music accompanied by spectacular belly dancers. It is really worth it!”
World Journal. Most influential Chinese-language newspaper in North America.

"Porphyra is one of the most important cultural endeavors undertaken by members of the Greek American community. As a history presentation, it brings to life our Byzantine heritage, especially for our children. The musical compositions and performances are helping put Hellenes on New York's artistic map and the participants are an inspiration for our children."
Constantine Sirigos, journalist.

“Billy Chrissochos has taken some obscure Byzantine history and transformed it into a vibrantly romantic musical experience that expands the parameters of the rock genre in most interesting ways. The performance I saw was flawlessly presented by talented musicians, attractive principals with strong voices, and dancers with all the right moves. Ranging from rock and heavy metal to tender ballads, the score beautifully captures both the political intrigue as well as the romantic nuances of the love story PORPHYRA has to tell. The audacity of the concept works beautifully, giving new life to a very old love story.”
Jimmy DeMetro, Director of NYC Greek Film Festival. 
“Porphyra's, A Grecian Rock Opera - Anna and Vladimir: The love that Rocked the World” was nothing short of fantastic. Everyone in the production was spectacular from the musicians to the singers. It was a phenomenal Rock concert with a Hellenic Byzantine Opera twist, and a must see. Congratulations to all!”
Lou Katsos, President, EMBCA (East Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance).

"Most of us can remember special moments in our lives, I can say I have experienced one of those when I attended the performance of Porphyra's: A Grecian Rock Opera, Anna & Vladimir: The Love That Rocked The World, on Friday June 2nd at the Flushing Town Hall. I'm happy and proud to have been there that night. It's not everyday, or even common for a Greek-American to be able to enjoy a magnificent and unique piece of entertainment, and also be proud of your heritage at the same time, Bravo Porphyra! You did it for me. I wish you continued success, and I hope to catch your next great experience.”
Peter Giakoumis, historian, author and Press Secretary for Club for UNESCO Piraeus and Islands NYC Modern Music Chapter.

“What is there to say about the new Greek Rock Opera “Anna and Vladimir: The Love That ROCKED the World,” of Billy Chrissochos? It is exciting music that has fine musicians and majestic singers and a grandiose and highly successful cast and crew. I cheer and applaud the production and director Despina Chrissochos and Associate Producer Peishan Lo in all their hard work in achieving this!”
Panayiotis Karousos, world renowned opera and classical music composer.
President of The Hellenic American Center of the Arts. 


We are the Queens Tribune spotlight of the week:

Pick of the week for "It's in Queens:



The National Herald: Greek-American newspaper


Sponsored by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce:

Here is our promo video from the Greek And Russian Club:


https://soundcloud.com/cosmos-fm-new-york/billy-chrissochos-porphyra-rock-opera-with-panos-satzoglou-at-cosmosfm-ny