Concert Review: Yanni

Concert Review: Yanni

The King of World Music takes Newport News by storm.
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This past Monday, the Greek superstar Yanni (real name Yiannis Chrysomallis) brought his spectacular live show to Newport News’ Ferguson Center for the Arts. Yanni’s eclectic concerts, which feature some of the most virtuoso instrumentalists and vocalists in the world, continually thrill audiences of all ages. His style blends contemporary instrumental music with world music, often performing updated versions of famous classical melodies. A world-class performer, some of his most famous recordings have been at the Acropolis in Athens, El Morro in Puerto Rico, and the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. After reading his biography and researching his live shows, I knew that this performance was one not to be missed.

One of the challenges with a concert based in world music is how much of the world to represent in the program. That being said, Yanni’s eclectic setlist drew influences from France, Italy, and his native Greece, with a hint of Middle Eastern influence as well. Yanni uses his performers to display the broad spectrum of world music to an advantage. His two superb vocalists, Lauren Jelencovich and Lisa Lavie, are extremely versatile, capable of singing classical as well as popular styles. The merge of these two styles was epitomized in their duet “Aria,” an updated worldbeat version of the Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera "Lakme." While Delibes’ melody is not as instantly recognizable here, Yanni’s vocal arrangements allow for the two voices to mesmerize even the farthest corners of the venue. Jelencovich’s big vocal moment came when she sang Yanni’s fan favorite “Nightingale.” Inspired by a trip that Yanni took to Venice, “Nightingale” has been performed in past years with a Chinese flute playing the melody. However, Jelencovich replaces the flute with her soaring soprano voice. Her ability to sustain sixth-octave melodies would give opera singers such as Natalie Dessay and Diana Damrau a run for their money. Meanwhile, Lavie brought down the house with a stirring rendition of Yanni’s “Niki Nana (We’re One),” a thrilling uptempo song about how we are spiritually connected as humans. The combination of the prominent brass chords, the disco-like drumbeat, and Lavie’s complex vocal runs á la Celine Dion lifted the audience to its feet for an irresistible dance party.

The talent, however, was not limited to the vocalists. In fact, two of Yanni’s longtime fellow performers, harpist Víctor Espínola and violinist Samvel Yervinyan, were two of my favorites in his ensemble. In numbers such as the fast, danceable “For All Seasons,” the instrumentalists display their solo talents one after the other. Yervinyan’s solo was the most exciting since his virtuosity is unrivalled against any other violinist I’ve seen live. His agility and delicate approach to seventh-octave harmonics is spellbinding. In the same number, Espínola’s harp skills were as ferocious as they were mind-blowing, spanning everything from syncopated plucked chords to bullet-fast arpeggios and glissandi. With the force he exerted onto his instrument with his fingers, it’s a wonder to me how the harp’s strings did not snap. Elsewhere in the ensemble of honorable mention was the drummer Charlie Adams, who showcased his virtuosity during the number “Marching Season.” His drum solo, which lasted for seven minutes, encompassed various time signatures at breakneck paces, in addition to a vast array of dynamics and magnificent crescendos.

Another reason why Yanni’s shows are so great is because of the interaction between him and the audience. His unexpected one-liners in between songs kept the audiences entertained, and his charisma is impossible to dislike. I did not immediately realize how broad the age range was at the concert, and many concert-goers appeared to be longtime fans of Yanni. Some fans would stand up and dance the whole way through during the more uptempo numbers. This notion was especially in the concert’s closer, “The Storm,” based on “Summer” from Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons." For this encore, the entire audience clapped in tempo to each soloist’s final virtuoso passage. Clearly, the unbreakable dynamic between Yanni and his fans remains the Greek musician’s forte (pun intended.)

One feature that I wish had been different was reducing the use of keyboard substitution for more exotic instruments. In certain numbers, the sound of a sitar was often replaced as a patch on an electronic keyboard. Although the electronic sound was still identical to a real sitar, I would love for Yanni to find an actual sitar player. Having one would enhance the all-encompassing nature of his take on world music.

Overall, Yanni's concert was an experience like no other. The millions of fans who have experienced his shows should consider themselves fortunate to have such a brilliant figure unite cultures through music. Yanni will return to the United States this summer, starting June 18 in Houston, Texas.

Cover Image Credit: 2 Down Front

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale
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Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting


Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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