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Orchestra make it perfect start to New Year

BY ALF McCREARY

The annual Viennese Concerts are invariably a fun evening, and the tradition was maintained in style by the Ulster Orchestra in its New Year performance at the Waterfront Hall at the weekend.

On Friday night, guest conductor, Ulsterman Christopher Bell, was suitably attired for a party, with red shoes and glitzy jackets – although he is a serious musician as well as a showman.

From the Entrance March by Johann Strauss II he had the near-capacity crowd clapping, and this continued throughout, until the inevitable encore from the redoubtable Colonel Radektzy, now long in the tooth.

The programme had some welcome new items for Belfast, including Strauss II's masterly Acceleration and Snowdrops waltzes, as well as the centrepiece Blue Danube, and the delightful Die Fledermaus, with arguably the most abrupt ending in music.

There was a foxtrot and a polka, and super dancing from welcome guests Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite, and stunning performances by Irish soprano Ailish Tynan.

Gorgeous dancing, gorgeous dresses, and gorgeous music – and no better way to begin a New Year.

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