Ulster Orchestra rings in the new with a tasty Viennese whirl
Ulster Orchestra, Belfast Waterfront Hall
The Ulster Orchestra celebrated the new year in fine style with its Viennese Concert performance to a well-filled Waterfront Hall on Saturday night.
One of the problems facing the orchestra's management is to do something new each year, and they certainly succeeded this time.
Gone were the majestic professional dancers waltzing to Lehar and Strauss. Instead there was the fabulous American tenor Noah Stewart, who wowed the audience with favourites including Lehar's You Are My Heart's Delight and Romberg's Overhead The Moon Is Beaming, which sounded better than Mario Lanza's version.
The Slovakian fiddlers Vladimir and Anton brought extra zip to Brahms' Hungarian Dance No 5, and their rousing Rosamunde Polka, which transformed into Roll Out The Barrel, was something else. The pianist Brian Hughes also deserves special mention.
The Ulster Orchestra ensemble in party mood was irresistible, just as it was in its terrific Magic Of Christmas Concert in the Waterfront on December 20.
Despite the pizzaz, the stately beauty of Tales Of The Vienna Woods and famous Blue Danube waltz surpassed everything that went before, while Stewart's encore Granada, and the inevitable but ever-welcome Radetsky March, rounded off a great party for all.
The Ulster Orchestra musicians, under the direction of the experienced Roderick Dunk, were as professional as ever. No doubt they were particularly happy because of an extra £300,000 from Stormont coffers to keep them in the best of tune for the foreseeable future.