WHAT better way to celebrate the approach of the New Year than with music?
And for concertgoers the world over there is one type of music that matches perfectly the spring in the step and the sheer joy that thoughts of a new start can bring.
In Vienna it is a New Year tradition and it has become one in Huddersfield too.
Many will join the Orchestra of Opera North next Friday when it stages its stunning Viennese Whirl, an afternoon concert that will pack Huddersfield Town Hall before whisking audiences off to the world of the waltz king, Johann Strauss II.
This stunning concert, full of energy and excitement always fills the hall to the rafters and next week’s event will have Opera North’s Concerts Director Dougie Scarfe as presenter.
With him to lead you through the history of the music that entranced the Viennese in the 19th century and has many fans today, it should be an afternoon of sheer delight.
He’s excited by the programme and by the choice of soloist for what is a very special concert in the winter programme.
Stephanie Corley’s performance for Opera North in Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow won her much critical acclaim.
Who else then to sing the evocative Baltic-influenced song, Vilja from The Merry Widow itself.
“I specifically invited Stephanie back because the audience was completely blown away by her when she appeared in Huddersfield at the same concert last year,” said Dougie.
The conductor is the renowned Polish musician Jacek Kaspszyk rather than Markus Poschner who was to have conducted the event but has stood down for personal reasons.
“We are delighted to have Jacek back working with us,” said the company.
“He has worked with us a lot for operas and concerts – including opening the 2006 Kirklees season with a Tchaikovsky programme in Huddersfield – and the orchestra likes him very much.”
Jacek Kaspszyk has a long standing association with Opera North, since conducting the company’s mainstage production of The Flying Dutchman back in 1989.
One of Europe’s leading conductors both in the concert hall and on the operatic stage, he is currently Artistic Director of the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Clearly if you have to go for a replacement as Opera North has had to do, then go for a great one.
Next Friday’s concert will see Jacek Kaspszyk lead an afternoon of classic waltzes and light music by composers including Franz Lehár, Zeller, Josef Strauss, and a multitude of popular pieces by the ‘Waltz King’, Johann Strauss II.
Strauss wrote over 500 waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles and was largely responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century.
Sit back then for an afternoon programme of Viennese classics. The concert will include well-known pieces such as Die Fledermaus: Overture, The Gypsy Baron: Overture, The Blue Danube Waltz and Pizzicato Polka.
Dougie Scarfe will compère a programme which should just waltz by.
The concert starts at 3.00pm and tickets are £13.50 (plus £4 concessions for under 26s only) from Kirklees Booking Offices or telephone 01484 223200 / 01924 324501 / 01484 222444 or book online at www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls
Please check ticket availability in advance as this concert usually sells out.