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Culture

The 8th Annual Opera & Ballet Concert in Astoria (Video)

October 25, 2017
Demetris Tsakas

ASTORIA – The Hellenic Orthodox Community of Astoria presented its 8th Annual Opera and Ballet Concert on Sunday, October 22 at the Petros G. Patrides Cultural Center of Saint Demetrios Astoria. The concert received high praise from the community members and the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras.

The concert took place two days after the opening ceremony of the Elementary School and the Nick A. Andriotis Hall. Benefactor and school board president Nikos Andriotis who donated $1 million for the school was also a producer and sponsor of the cultural event.

Andriotis spoke with The National Herald and expressed his gratitude for the conductor Yannis Xylas and the Hellenic Music Foundation Symphony Orchestra, the soloists, the dancers, and the choir of the Queensborough Community College. He said, “This year the community of Saint Demetrios celebrates its 90th anniversary and 60 years of our Day School and the curtain opens once again on the cultural events with the Opera Night.”

The celebrations for the double anniversary will continued on Wednesday, October 25 with the Great Vespers and on Thursday, October 26, the feast day of St. Demetrios, with the Archieratical Divine Liturgy presided over by Archbishop Demetrios of America. The celebration culminates on Sunday, November 5, with the official dinner that will be held at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, honoring one of the founders and past president of the Greek American Homeowners Association in Astoria George Alexiou.

The honoree is the owner of a real estate agency in Astoria and played a catalytic role in the $1 million donation offered by Victoria Patrides in memory of her son, Petros G. Patrides.

This donation was given to the St. Demetrios High School of Astoria and literally changed the course of donations for the community. Since that time, all the great donations received by the community during the last two decades were devoted to education.

The presiding priest of St. Demetrios Cathedral, Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, spoke with TNH, welcoming all in attendance for the Opera Night and congratulating Mr. Andriotis, the conductor Yannis Xylas, and all the performers in the show.

He noted that “the majestic community produces its own cultural productions such as the Opera and Ballet Night is a precious gem in Hellenic American culture.”

Parish council member George Georgiou expressed his pleasure for the Opera Night and said that “Friday, we started the Primary School and the Nikos A. Andriotis Center and tonight we enjoy a Broadway show. Which of the founders and benefactors we have honored these days could have imagined that St. Demetrios Astoria would host a symphony orchestra with two pianos and two harps, choirs, and world-renowned soloists?”

The president of the Dodecanese Federation, George Andriotis, spoke to TNH, pointing out that the 8th Opera Night “was among the best and the most interesting.”

At the same time, he noted that the participation of the Olympic gold medalist Ioannis Melissanidis and the combination of narration with singing and ballet provoked a special feeling.

The director of the Pancyprian Association Choir, Phytos Stratis, when asked by TNH to comment on the event congratulated the community and Mr. Andriotis on his initiative and said that “the production undertaken by the conductor Yannis Xylas is not easy. To organize a Broadway show is not an easy task. It’s costly and tedious, and because I’m also involved in such performances, I can say that today’s Opera Night is a true achievement.”

Especially helpful was the bilingual program by Mary Sakkis. The show began with the Hymn to Thessaloniki from the Oratorio Saint Demetrios and later on The Godson by Theofrastos Sakellaridis was performed by Olga Xanthopoulou and Olga Bakali, adding Greek flavor to the evening’s entertainment. The production also included excerpts from operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Jacques Offenbach, among other works.

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