Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year's Viennese Style

Inside the Orpheum Theatre waiting for the New Year's concert to begin
To celebrate the start of 2014, my family and I went to The Orpheum Theatre to watch "Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert 2014" performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with Viennese conductor Matthias Fletzberger, guest performers and six dancers from the Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine.

We'd never gone to one of these concerts before so we were pleasantly surprised by the combination of Strauss -- lots of Strauss -- singing and dancing.

The program not only featured Johann Strauss ad his brother Josef, but also Franz Lehar and Emmerich Kalman.

After the Overture to Die Fledermaus, Fletzberger gave amusing commentary for each piece. Soprano Monika Fischl from Budapest was amazing, particularly when she performed her second piece, Johann Strauss' "Fruhlingstimmen" Walzer, Op 410, where she had perfect pitch and control of her voice. Towards the end she had a mini duel with a flautist!

We also enjoyed the comedic singing and dancing duo Szilvi Szendy and Karoly Peller, both from Budapest. They came out dressed in a sleek ballroom dancing dress for say the rumba and a tuxedo respectively so we were surprised to see him flinging her around, her going through his legs and him doing cartwheels. How do you do cartwheels on stage in a tux? She also did the splits!

The ballet dancers were a nice accompaniment to the orchestra, though it was more about the female dancers, while the men were more the arm ornaments.

Finally the audience got to have a bit of fun taking part in Josef Strauss' Jokey Polka, Op. 278 where the conductor instructed us when to clap as if giving a horse a slap on its behind. More clapping ensued in the encore of Strauss' Radetzky March where Fletzberger again gave us hand signals of when to clap.

"Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert 2014" is being performed across the country these few days, from Vancouver to Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec City.

We had the music, dancing and singing Viennese style -- the only thing missing was the super dense chocolate cake called Sacher Torte!

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