Review: Old favourites usher in the New Year in style
Ulster Orchestra, Ulster Hall
The enduring popularity of Viennese music was underlined on Saturday by a capacity audience in the Ulster Hall for a second night of the Ulster Orchestra’s New Year Concerts.
Under the direction of colourful conductor Christopher Bell, the Orchestra was in fine form, aided by larger-than-life soprano Cara O’Sullivan, with a marvellously rich voice and a powerful stage presence.
All the old favourites were there, including the Thunder and Lightning Polka and the Champagne Polka, with a little seasoning of Offenbach’s familiar Can-Can, neatly danced by maestro Bell, whose father celebrated his 83rd birthday at the concert.
The evening ended with the inevitable, unmissable, Blue Danube and evergreen Radetsky March, with various degrees of timing from the clap-happy audience.
Above all this was a New Year party which brought great enjoyment, proving yet again that the Ulster Orchestra is no way “elitist,” but a talented band for all the people. One hopes that 2016 will bring a permanent solution to its funding problems.