Retail News: L.L.Bean to Open its Third Virginia Store at Lynnhaven Mall, Virginia Beach

Freeport, Maine outdoor retailer’s third Virginia store is part of its overall retail expansion strategy to have 100 retail stores by 2020

L.L.Bean, an internationally recognized outdoor retailer best known for its iconic Bean Boot, everyday free shipping and 100% satisfaction guarantee, is set to expand its retail operation with the opening of its third Virginia store, scheduled to open the spring of 2016. The new L.L.Bean store will be located at Lynnhaven Mall, featuring over 180 shops and restaurants located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The 16,700 square-foot store will feature an assortment of active and casual apparel and footwear, as well as outdoor lifestyle gear including hiking, fly-fishing, kayaking and winter gear and camping products. The store will employ approximately 100 people. This will be L.L.Bean’s third store in Virginia and its 28th retail store outside of Maine. Current L.L.Bean Virginia locations include stores at Tysons Corner Center in McLean and at the Short Pump Town Center in Richmond.

One of the reasons this will be a great home for us is due to all of the great outdoor activities that abound, from paddling and fishing on the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay to hiking and cycling in the several state parks nearby,” said Ken Kacere, Senior Vice-President And General Manager Of Retail at L.L.Bean. “We’re excited to be introducing the L.L.Bean brand to the people of the Virginia Beach area, where they can touch, see, feel and experience the true essence of an outdoor store, combined with a bit of the Maine spirit.”

L.L.Bean made the decision to continue to expand its retail presence into Virginia Beach as part of its overall retail expansion plan and due to the high level of brand affinity the area residents have for L.L.Bean. In addition, the area is also in proximity to several abundant natural resources and multiple opportunities for many outdoor activities, as well as a population base that enjoys regularly engaging in a variety of outdoor pursuits. The store will allow the people of the Virginia Beach area and beyond to experience first-hand everything that the legendary outdoor retailer has to offer, such as quality merchandise, a welcoming shopping environment and a large roster of ongoing demonstrations and clinics on a number of outdoor topics.

Of particular note will be the inclusion of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools, which will offer demonstrations, clinics and introductory hands-on activities like snowshoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, archery and fly casting, all designed to make it easy for people to engage in outdoor activities for health, fitness and recreation. L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools’ courses are offered at every L.L.Bean Retail Store. In 2014, over 130,000 people participated in these programs.

L.L. Bean is a great addition to Lynnhaven Mall’s existing retail line-up. We welcome them to our family of stores and to the Hampton Roads market,” said Michael Harris, General Manager, Lynnhaven Mall. “We know our shoppers will find the L.L.Bean brand a perfect match for their active lifestyles.”

Anna Netrebko Leads a Starry Cast in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” On “Great Performances at the Met” Season Premiere Friday, January 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS

The Production Also Features Yonghoon Lee In His Met Role Debut As The Title Character, Dolora Zajick In Her Signature Role Of The Gypsy Azucena, And Dmitri Hvorostovsky As Count Di Luna

Verdi’s dramatic and tuneful favorite Il Trovatore kicks off the new season of THIRTEEN‘S Great Performances at the Met Friday, January 22 at 9 p.m.on PBS, and repeated Sunday, January 24 at 12 p.m.  (Check local listings.)

Il Trovatore was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 3, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.

Soprano Anna Netrebko appears in her highly anticipated Met role debut as Leonora, the tortured heroine who sacrifices her own life for the love of the Gypsy troubadour. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Count di Luna,Yonghoon Lee is Manrico, Dolora Zajick sings her signature role of the Gypsy Azucena, and Štefan Kocán is Ferrando. Marco Armiliato conducts Sir David McVicar‘s Goya-inspired production.

In a remarkable career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. Salvadore Cammarano (1801–1852) was one of the foremost librettists of his day. He collaborated with Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor, among others) and wrote the text for La Battaglia di Legnano and Luisa Miller for Verdi. After his death the Trovatore libretto was completed by fellow writer Leone Emanuele Bardare (1820–after 1874).

PART 1: THE DUEL

Spain is torn apart by civil war. The commander of the Royalist Aragon troops, Count di Luna, is obsessed with Leonora, a young noblewoman in the queen’s service, who does not return his love. Outside the royal residence his soldiers keep watch at night. An unknown troubadour has been heard serenading Leonora and the jealous count is determined to capture and punish him. To keep his troops awake, the captain, Ferrando, recounts the terrible story of a Gypsy woman who was burned at the stake years ago for bewitching the count’s infant brother. The Gypsy’s daughter then took revenge by kidnapping the boy and—so the story goes—throwing him into the flames where her mother had died. The charred skeleton of a baby was discovered there and di Luna’s father died of grief soon after. No trace was ever found of the Gypsy’s daughter, but di Luna, always hoping that the remains might not have been his brother’s, has sworn to find her.

In the palace gardens Leonora confesses to her companion that she is in love with a mysterious man she met before the outbreak of the war. It is he who now returns as the troubadour to serenade her each night. After they have left, Count di Luna appears, looking for Leonora. The troubadour’s song is heard in the darkness and Leonora rushes out to greet him but is seized instead by di Luna. The troubadour reveals his true identity: he is Manrico, leader of the partisan rebel forces. Furious, the count challenges him to fight to the death.

PART 2: THE GYPSY

The duel has been fought. Manrico overpowered the count but some instinct stopped him from killing his rival. The war has raged on with the Royalist forces victorious in the last battle. Manrico has been badly wounded and nursed back to health by his mother, the Gypsy Azucena, in a camp in the mountains.

Azucena is the woman di Luna has been looking for. Her life is scarred by the memory of her mother’s death and the terrible revenge she exacted. Manrico, who has never heard the full story, is determined to finally know the truth. Azucena tells him how she stole the count’s infant son but that the child she murdered in her manic rage was in fact her own. When Manrico demands to know who he truly is, Azucena is evasive: all that matters is the love of a mother she has shown him all his life and that he does not fail to take revenge on the house of di Luna. A messenger arrives with news of Leonora. Believing Manrico has died in battle, and to escape the grasp of di Luna, she is entering a convent. Azucena pleads with Manrico to stay, but he resolves to go to her immediately.

Di Luna arrives at the convent with his troops to take Leonora by force, but his attempt to seize her is foiled by the attack of Manrico and his men. In the ensuing fight, the lovers escape.

PART 3: THE GYPSY’S SON

Di Luna has laid siege to the fortress where Manrico has taken refuge with Leonora. Azucena, who has been captured by Ferrando wandering nearby, is brought into the camp. When she hears di Luna’s name, her reaction arouses suspicion and Ferrando recognizes her as the murderer of the count’s brother. Azucena cries out to Manrico to rescue her and di Luna realizes he now has his enemy in his hands. He orders a pyre built to burn Azucena before the walls of the fortress.

Inside the castle, Manrico and Leonora are preparing to be married. She is frightened, but he assures her of his love even in the face of death. When news of Azucena’s capture arrives, he summons his men and prepares to attack. Continue reading

Crystal Esprit Christened In The Seychelles, Ready To Set Sail

Luxury Yacht Launches Crystal Cruises’ Next Chapter

New Ultra-Luxury Yacht Will Offer Extensive Roster Of Combinable Mediterranean Itineraries In Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Slovenia And Cyprus

On December 20, 2015 Crystal Esprit was christened in an elegant ceremony at Eden Island Marina in Mahe, Victoria, Seychelles.

On December 20, 2015 Crystal Esprit was christened in an elegant ceremony at Eden Island Marina in Mahe, Victoria, Seychelles.

Crystal Cruises, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line, officially welcomed Crystal Esprit to its fleet of ultra-luxury vessels Sunday, as the sleek yacht was christened in an elegant ceremony held at Eden Island Marina in Mahe, Victoria, Seychelles. Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, welcomed a distinguished audience of local dignitaries, yacht guests, travel partners and professionals and executives from the line’s new parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK), for a day of celebration, as Crystal Esprit marks the beginning of one of the most significant brand expansions in luxury travel and hospitality history.

Left to Right Crystal Chairman, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Crystal Esprit Captain, Nenad Willheim, Crystal Esprit Godmother, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes; Crystal President & CEO, Edie Rodriguez; Crystal Cruises COO Thomas Mazloum; Special Advisor, Colin Au.

Left to Right Crystal Chairman, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Crystal Esprit Captain, Nenad Willheim, Crystal Esprit Godmother, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes; Crystal President & CEO, Edie Rodriguez; Crystal Cruises COO Thomas Mazloum; Special Advisor, Colin Au.

On hand to christen Crystal Esprit was the yacht’s godmother, Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes, fiancee of Mark Richards, one of the world’s most awarded and recognized yachtsmen. Richards serves as chief executive of Grand Banks Yachts, based in Australia, and is an eight-time champion skipper of the 628-mile Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. Lady Meakes christened the yacht with the traditional breaking of Champagne against the hull – specifically a bottle of Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut, 2004. The evening culminated with an elaborate fireworks display at sea.

To say today is a special day is an understatement,” said Rodriguez. “Since joining Crystal just over two years ago, a personal goal of mine has been to see Crystal realize the next step in continuing to pioneer luxury travel and hospitality; and today I am seeing that dream fulfilled.” She went on to personally thank GHK Chairman and CEO, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, for his and his company’s support of her vision for Crystal’s future.

Just months after its idyllic maiden voyage through the Seychelles, Crystal Yacht Cruises’ Crystal Esprit will spend the spring, summer and fall of 2016 cruising some of the Adriatic Coast’s most coveted locales. Each of the seven-day voyages aboard the 62-guest yacht can be combined with the following one to create expanded vacations without repeating ports. From the end of March through October of 2016, more than 30 itineraries will cruise to destinations, many of which are only accessible by smaller vessels, captivating guests with the destination’s beauty, charm and historical significance.

The launch of Crystal Esprit marks the beginning of one of the most significant brand expansions in luxury travel and hospitality history.

The launch of Crystal Esprit marks the beginning of one of the most significant brand expansions in luxury travel and hospitality history.

Crystal Esprit’s Mediterranean and Adriatic Coast voyages reflect the yacht itself – sailing in a region that has long been beloved by Crystal guests and travelers the world over, but also exploring destinations in an entirely new way,” says Rodriguez. “These itineraries perfectly blend some of Western Europe’s most famously bustling cities with other, more remote and quaint spots.”

The all-suite super-yacht caters to just 62 guests, featuring 31 luxurious yacht suites, all equipped with high-end amenities and butler service.

The all-suite super-yacht caters to just 62 guests, featuring 31 luxurious yacht suites, all equipped with high-end amenities and butler service.

With a focus on intimate access and active experiences, the sailings will offer new perspectives on currently favored destinations visited by the line’s ocean-going ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. All of the itineraries have been carefully crafted to heavily explore several destinations within one or two countries, allowing guests a more immersive cultural experience. Some of the yacht’s Mediterranean locales include:

Piran, Slovenia – Set at the very tip of the Slovenian peninsula, which is the heart of what is affectionately known as the world’s outdoor playground, but also boasting a beautifully-preserved historic Old Town. Here, Crystal guests can enjoy the bounty of natural adventures and meandering walkways between seafood restaurants.

Kotor, Montenegro – A tradition-rich town that blends imposing walled fortresses with welcoming piazzas. Set at the base of a dramatically sloped mountain, Kotor is loved by history buffs and travelers with a taste for striking architecture and rich cuisine. The spectacular Kotor Fjord that surrounds the destination is, in itself, a “must see” for travelers.

Limassol, Cyprus – Truly a playground for virtually every type of traveler, with its storied past (look for Byzantine castles, Venetian walls and conflicting Greek and Turkish influences); outdoor escapes (with rugged landscapes that beckon hikers and explorers and waters that scuba divers find irresistible); and a vast menu of foods that reflect the many cultural influences on the island.

Kaş, Turkey – Where divers will find more than exotic sea life, but also centuries-old shipwrecks to explore in the famously inviting waters. Besides the plethora of outdoor adventures for which Kaş is ideal, the town is also populated with ancient walls, theaters and rock tombs that help tell its fabled history. Continue reading