Porphyra, Grecian Rock Opera at Flushing Town Hall

Porphyra Playbill cover. Photo: Courtesy of Billy Chrissochos

NEW YORK – Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera, Anna and Vladimir: The love that Rocked the world, wowed audiences with a historical and cultural journey into Greece’s past at Flushing Town Hall “Where the Silk Road ends, a romance begins.” The Rock Opera was hosted by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. Audiences experienced the show for the first time in one of Queens’ most revered landmark theaters for three performances; one on June 2 and two on June 3.

First came Anthony and Cleopatra then, there was the drama-drenched Byzantine duo Anna and Vladimir. Porphyra is the rock opera that captures all the history, grandeur, and power struggles behind their love story. Set in the year 988 AD, the production chronicles the world-rocking marriage of Princess Anna Porphyrogenita of Greece to Grand Prince Vladimir the Great of the medieval Kievan Rus. Their tale of love, war and peace is brought to life through hard rock, melodic metal, and Greek folk music, all churned out by a rock orchestra. Based on the epic albums “Faith, Struggle, Victory” and “The Starmaker’s Prophecy” (due out this summer), the performance weaves together theater, dance, and visuals.

The director, production/stage manager, costume stylist, prop master, and narrator was Despina Chrissochos, wife of Billy Chrissochos- the primary composer, lyricist and producer of Porphyra. Mrs. Chrissochos helmed the production while seven months pregnant with the couple’s second child.

The protagonists were four of NYC’s most versatile and powerful Hard Rock/Heavy Metal vocalists; the charismatic and powerhouse vocalist Elaine Tuttle who portrayed the role of Princess Anna Porphyrogenita, the delightful Tommy Von Voigt who slayed as Prince Vladimir, the majestic vocal stylings of Ron Iglesias as Emperor Basil II, and the heavenly vocals of Christina Stavrou as Princess Olga.

The band was composed of Billy Chrissochos on guitar, Mike “Risko” Savvas on guitar and tzoura (the smaller cousin of the bouzouki instrument), who enthralled the audiences with his unique instrument,  Jose A. Navia on bass, Richard Khuzami on percussion and what is a tour de force on drums, Mr. Tracey “Tre Boogie” Beavers, holding the entire ship together. The dancers from the Dena Stevens Shazadi Dance Project were Choreographer Dena Stevens, the show’s Associate Producer Peishan Lo, and Alicia Kubeck.

Recognized and awarded by UNESCO, Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera, made its debut at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in May 2015 and Off Broadway debut at the famed West Village Players Theatre in May 2016. Porphyra’s album, “Faith, Struggle, Victory” also won the 2016 Best Rock Album in the Akademia Music Awards. Porphyra’s Rock Opera debut at Flushing Town Hall was named “Pick of the Week” by “It’s in Queens” the popular online blog.

Taehoon Kim, President of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said, “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.”

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

“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,” said Reverend Father Paul Palesty, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church.

More information on Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera is available online at: www.Porphyrarockopera.com and on Facebook. Merchandise and the albums “Faith, Struggle, Victory” and “The Starmaker’s Prophecy” are also available online as is a new promo video https://www.facebook.com/greekrussianclub/videos/299670137112177/.

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.