Ulster Orchestra's Viennese whirl gets year off to great start
The Ulster Orchestra's first concert of 2020 was a sell-out at the Waterfront Hall with music from 'A Night In Vienna' to mark the New Year.
It was a challenge to transform a winter night in Belfast to a Viennese extravaganza of music by the Strauss family and others, but the orchestra, under charismatic Spanish conductor Sergio Alapont (first time in Belfast) managed to achieve this with aplomb.
One of the challenges of a Viennese night is for all concerned to provide some old favourites like the Tritsch-Tratsch Polka and the apparently endless Emperor Waltz, but to add something new, and this they did with deceptive ease.
The Quadrille by Johann Strauss II featuring music by Mozart, Paganini, Beethoven and others, was a fresh contribution not often heard on such occasions, as was the Eduard Strauss Quadrille based on Bizet's opera Carmen. There was also a beautiful Joseph Strauss II 'Romance for cello and orchestra', featuring the orchestra's relatively new star, principal cellist Charles-Antoine Archambault.
One of the hits of the evening was the appearance of the distinguished Irish soprano Ailish Tynan, not only for her rich, confident voice but also for her sense of humour. Interviewed by Claire McCollum she said how much she loved Belfast and especially the New Year sales, where - she said - she had already spent most of her fee!