HUDDERSFIELD'S festive season concert of Viennese music has three distinct advantages over its illustrious New Year's Day counterpart in Vienna - you don't have to book five years ahead, it isn't necessary to dress up like a dog's dinner, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper !
As for the quality of the music yesterday, there can be nothing but praise for the Opera North Orchestra's interpretation of the infectious and irresistible music of Johann Strauss, Mozart and Lehar, under the inspirational direction of Christian Gansch, who was brought up within three miles of the Danube.
Each of the 14 pieces played held its own individual delights, like the gorgeous pianissimo strings in Tales from the Vienna Woods - that hauntingly nostalgic, near-symphonic waltz - and the deliciously evocative sound of the sleigh bells in Mozart's German Dance K. 605.
The Egyptian headgear donned by singing percussionists brought much merriment in Strauss's Egyptian March, and even a malfunctioning gun could not completely spoil the appeal of the Freikugeln (``Magic Bullets") Polka.
Sylph-like soloist Claire Wild made a brilliant contribution to the concert, singing superbly and skilfully switching moods from the passion of Padre, germani, addio !(from Mozart's Idomeneo) to the mischievous satire of In uomine (Cosi Fan Tutte).
She conveyed the sentiment of the lovely Vilja song from Lehar's The Merry Widow with moving sincerity, while Adele's aria from Die Fledermaus, Spiel ich dir Unschuld vom Lande was delivered in appropriately sprightly and theatrical fashion.