PHILADELPHIA – The Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia presented the legendary Cypriot singer Michalis Violaris in concert with Greek singer Andriana Kollia and the Pancyprian Choir of New York under the direction of Phyto Stratis at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia on October 4. The audience was delighted with the show which included classic songs from Violaris’ impressive repertoire.
The evening began with a reception where fans could meet the singer famous for his hit songs sung in the Cypriot dialect, including Ta Rialia which hit the top-10 in Greece in 1973. The delicious Cypriot mezedes were by Zenon Taverna of Astoria.
Led by Dance Director Karoline Kokolis, The Cypriot Dancers of Greater Philadelphia, dressed in traditional costume, performed traditional dances and impressed everyone during the pre-concert reception.
Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia Executive Board President Georghia Kurnellas gave the opening remarks at the concert thanking all those present for their continuing support, noting that it was a true honor to have Violaris, his musicians, and Kollia, who all traveled from Greece to perform in the concert.
Kurnellas then introduced Violaris who was welcomed enthusiastically by the appreciative fans. The concert included hit songs and fan favorites by Violaris himself and by well-known composers including Mikis Theodorakis.
Accompanying Violaris and Kollia were the talented musicians George Salvanos on piano, Michalis Giatrakis and daughter Maria Giatrakis, both on bouzouki. Violaris gave a brief introduction to each song, adding to the congenial atmosphere of the concert by sharing memories of his longstanding career with the audience.
The Pancyprian Choir, along with Ellie Tsachtani on flute, joined Violaris onstage for the later portion of the concert. Violaris handed the microphone to Pancyprian Choir Artistic and Music Director Phyto Stratis for some brief remarks. Stratis thanked the Cyprus Society and Mr. Violaris for inviting the Choir to perform in Philadelphia, and especially thanked PSEKA President Philip Christopher for his continuing support. Stratis also mentioned the upcoming concert on October 13 at the Queens Theatre in New York and hoped to see everyone there as well and for the Choir to perform again soon for all those present in a free Cyprus.
The Choir began with the beautiful and poignant To Spiti pou gennithika with lyrics from a poem by Kostis Palamas and music by Michalis Terzis. Violaris noted that the song was dedicated to Kyrenia and to all those who cannot go home again wherever they are from and added that his dear friend for many years Philip Christopher is from Kyrenia.
Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Among the songs the Choir performed with Violaris were Varka Horis Pania, To Delfinokoritso, and the ever-popular Oulla Halali Sou. The concert concluded with the well-known Theodorakis song Palioi Dromoi from the 1973 film Serpico starring Al Pacino which was then followed by an encore of two additional songs.
Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet was among those present for the event and posed for a commemorative photo at the conclusion of the concert. Coffee and traditional desserts were also served following the show.
Everyone is looking forward to Violaris next concert with the Pancyprian Choir at the Queens Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 13.
More information is available online: queenstheatre.org.
Photo by Eleni Sakellis