Waltz your way into the new year
Waterfront Hall, Belfast
Tonight -amp; tomorrow, 7.45pm
Millennium Forum, Londonderry
The Braid, Ballymena
Thursday, January 10, 8pm
In the same way that pantomime each year provides popular entertainment for the populace around Northern Ireland, so too the Ulster Orchestra's gala Viennese concerts continue to be enduring lightweight entertainment that can appeal to all types of audiences.
You don't have to be a classical orchestral fan to enjoy the wonderful melodies and attractive rhythms of the dances. But even if you are a classical buff, you can still recognise the skill and the flair that the Strauss family and their several contemporaries displayed to such effect in their musical outpourings.
This year, the Ulster Orchestra faces particular challenges but they will be entering into the spirit of the new year with a festive bounce and especially so under the baton of Belfast-born Christopher Bell. He will be joined on stage at various points throughout the evening concert by soprano Rebecca Bottone and, for the Belfast shows, dancers Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite. These last two artists have been regulars at the orchestra's New Year concerts and their popularity from the Strictly Come Dancing series has remained undiminished.
It is always something of a surprise as to what exactly will be played on the night of these New Year Gala Viennese concerts, but you can always be sure that there will be a healthy dose of Strauss and other Viennese masters.
As the Ulster Orchestra publicity puts it: "Waltzes, polkas and galops galore will set your toes tapping and your hands clapping in this musical New Year party".
For full details, visit www.ulsterorchestra.com, www.millenniumforum.co.uk or www.thebraid.com