Salute to Vienna

Date and Venue 1 Jan 2010 @ 2.30 pm | The Orpheum, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

What a spectacular event! You have a combination of symphony, ballet and operetta as SALUTE TO VIENNA (STV), a favourite New Year musical tradition throughout North America, celebrated its 15th season. The brilliant talents of The Strauss Symphony of Canada with its fabulous European conductors, tenors, sopranos and dancers performed simultaneously all over Canada and the US. In Canada, the Salute was peformed in Toronto, Montreal. Hamilton, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

In Vancouver, the featured artists were Hans Richter, conductor; Anita Lukacs, soprano; Zsolt Vadasz, tenor; and the Vienna City Ballet dancers. Celebrating the uplifting music of Vienna ’s “Waltz King”, Johann Strauss Jr., and his contemporaries, STV is reminiscent of Vienna ’s famous and beloved NEUJAHRSKONZERT, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for over 70 years and televised annually to 1.3 billion people around the globe.

It was an enjoyable afternoon listening not only to Strauss's music but also those of his contemporaries: Franz von Suppe, Emmerich Kalman, Franz Lehar,and Carl Michael Ziehrer.

Maestro Richter was quite entertaining as he introduced each piece, adding anecdotes about his great grandfather, Hans Richter (same name), the famous master who conducted several famous premieres.

Soprano Anita Lukacs was superb with her powerful and resonating voice as she sang arias from Gypsy Princess and Die Fledermaus, overpowering her tenor partner, Zsolt Vadasz who, I felt, needed a microphone as he didn't project as well as Lukacs.

The Vienna Ballet Dancers were simply fabulous, doing their comic routines, but oh so gracefully, and in the end, with the encore number, the ever popular Blue Danube Waltz, they danced so flowingly to this waltz favourite, the women in white flowing dresses, and the men in their tuxedoes.

There were practically three encores and three curtain calls, with Auld Lang Syne sung by all of us, and a marching song which finaly ended the 2h and 15m programme.

This is a spectacle that is a must see, and since it is only peformed once a year, the Orpheum was packed to the rafters.

Over the past decade STV has grown into the largest live concert series of its kind in North America, under the leadership of Attila and Marion Glatz, founders and producers of this unique project.

© 2010 Ed Farolan