Greek maestro Yanni enthrals music lovers in Jeddah

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Greek musician Yanni performs at a concert in the King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia on November 30, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Greek musician Yanni and English cellist Sarah O’Brien perform at a concert in the King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia on November 30, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 06 December 2017
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Greek maestro Yanni enthrals music lovers in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Renowned Greek composer and pianist Yanni enthralled a sell-out crowd at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Thursday in a concert held under the supervision of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment.
Yanni, 63, enjoyed a great reception from fans as he arrived on stage with his 12-piece orchestra.
The show kicked off with a short introductory performance by the trumpet players, with Yanni assisting them on the piano. At the end of this ephemeral piece, Yanni told the crowd, “I am so happy to be in Saudi Arabia. It feels like home… it’s just perfect.”
After the powerful introductory piece, Yanni calmed things with a performance of his popular 1992 track “Felitsa” — composed for his mother — under a bright spotlight, with dim red and blue spotlights falling on orchestra members, accompanied by a sea of smartphones held aloft by the crowd.
While Yanni’s performance included many new compositions, it was the blockbusters the crowd most wanted to hear and he did not disappoint, airing classics including “Nostalgia,” “Marching Season,” and “Standing In Motion” to rapturous applause.
“The Rain Must Fall” was enlivened by the outstanding skills of bassist Gabriel Vivas, while an exquisite rendition of “Nightingale” revealed the phenomenal vocal range of American soprano Lauren Jelencovich.

Perhaps the wildest reception of the night (aside from those afforded Yanni himself), though, was reserved for drummer Charlie Adams’ extended solo — performed with dazzling speed and dexterity — during which he amused the crowd by sipping from his coffee.
Yanni concluded his show with his upbeat composition “The Storm,” which featured a beautiful performance by Armenian violinist Samvel Yervinyan and Lindsay Deutsch, an American violinist. The crowd was noisily appreciative of the awe-inspiring pace at which the musicians performed this intricate piece.
Speaking to Arab News before the show, Yanni’s daughter Krystall Ann, who is travelling with her father, said: “I’m just so happy and thrilled that we can actually be here. It’s been beautiful. I’m excited that we’ll be here a full two weeks, from coast to coast. It’s been lovely so far."
Yanni performed another show in Jeddah on Friday. He will play at the Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University auditorium in Riyadh on Dec. 3-4, and at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran on Dec. 6-7.
For more photos from the concert, click here.


’Benny the Beluga’ facing Christmas in the Thames far from home

Updated 49 min 20 sec ago
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’Benny the Beluga’ facing Christmas in the Thames far from home

  • A beluga whale that was first spotted nearly three months ago in the River Thames is still feeding healthily

LONDON: A beluga whale that was first spotted nearly three months ago in the River Thames is still feeding healthily east of the British capital and facing a lone Christmas hundreds of miles from its normal Arctic habitat.
The white cetacean, which feeds on fish, squid and crabs, was first spotted in September and surfaced near Gravesend, Kent on the southern side of the estuary.
The last spotting of the whale, dubbed Benny the Beluga by the British media, was on Dec. 12 east of Gravesend, said a spokesman for the Port of London Authority which oversees the river.
“The whale pops up, and I am not exaggerating, for literally three to four seconds and then he disappears for 10 or 15 minutes and he moves in a wide, dark river, so you see how hard it is to track his precise location,” the spokesman said.
“This whale in its natural environment in the Arctic is a diverse feeder – so it is not a fussy eater,” the spokesman said. “The Thames is much cleaner now so there are more fish stocks.”
The beluga appears to be healthy, he added.
The last sighting of beluga whales in UK waters was in 2015 when they were spotted off northeastern England near the Northumberland coastline, but they left shortly afterwards.
Belugas, which can grow up to 5.5 meters (18 feet) long, spend most of their time off the coasts of Alaska, Canada and Russia, though they often travel great distances in search of food.