BPO – New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala  – Stephen Bell (conductor), Ailish Tynan (soprano)

A celebration not to be missed – unless, like me, you have a chest cough that makes you bark like a sea lion. It was very difficult for Mr B. who went in my place, to avoid making me very jealous as he described the party atmosphere, from Suppé’s exhilarating Light Cavalry Overture through to the lush, romantic delights of Strauss’ Emperor Waltz, Champagne Polka and all. However, this programme was not simply a Strauss-fest. Conductor Stephen Bell had laced the Viennese cream with some very interesting treats.

Mr. B particularly liked Franz Lehár’s seductive ‘On my lips every kiss is like wine’ with it’s teasing echoes of Bizet’s ‘Carmen’. I can just imagine how Irish soprano Ailish Tynan made the most of Lehár’s sensuous melodies.

Ailish Tynan

Ailish Tynan

Mr B was also enchanted by the Serenade from Erich Korngold’s ballet ‘Der Schneemann’, the snowman, which he found blissful. It featured the BPO’s new Leader Ruth Rogers as the solo violin. Korngold was only the eleven-year-old when he composed this extravagant pantomime, a rôle model perhaps for the younger members of the BPO’s audience.

Another inspirational piece was ‘Calling the Aurora’ by Christine Hals which every youngster knows from the film ‘Frozen’. Mr B enjoyed this delicate and delightful sketch of a Nordic winter scene so much that he found it on Spotify when he got home! Making fresh discoveries like this is one of the joys of a stimulating programme; another is the chap with the bicycle pump, popping up in the back row during the Champagne Polka. I do so wish I had been there!

Brighton Dome,
31 December 2022
Rating: ★★★★★
Andrew Connal

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