DANCING to bring the New Year in has a history – the old-fashioned way is with waltzes and polkas, and there is nothing better for a Vienna-style New Year’s Day than Manchester Camerata’s concert at the Bridgewater Hall.
They also performed the opera gala the night before, and each occasion brought a gifted soprano to sing out the old or sing in the new.
On New Year’s Eve it was Rebecca Nelsen, a girl from Texas now a darling of the Volksoper in Vienna itself. With conductor Robert Ziegler the suave and lively MC as well as maestro, she gave us excerpts from Verdi (Ah, fors’ è lui and Sempre libera, from La Traviata, and Caro nome, from Rigoletto) which showed what an effective stage actress she must be.
She made a fine job, too, of Song To The Moon (Rusalka), Je veux vivre (Roméo Et Juliette) and Quando me’n vo (La Bohème). Chorus items were by St George’s Singers, and there was no holding back the enthusiasm of the orchestra as Ziegler took them through these to a fast and noisy Candide overture and a clapalong Offenbach Can-Can (before Auld Lang Syne).
Unflagging Camerata enthusiasm continued for conductor Stephen Bell (equally suave, equally lively) on New Year’s Day. His soloist was soprano Rebecca Bottone, looking and sounding lovely.
Her contribution included not just the standard fare of the Viljalied (Léhar), Adele’s Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus and Don’t Be Cross (Zeller), but the dazzling coloratura display of Voices Of Spring and Sphärenklänge (one of the encores) in their vocal versions.
I appreciated delightful solos from within the orchestra on both occasions – specially Hannah Roberts’ cello and Mary Gilbert’s cor anglais in the evening, and Hazel Cropper on oboe and Nathaniel Boyd on cello in the afternoon.
Manchester New Year’s Day Viennese Gala
‘A great New Year’s Viennese concert. If you can't afford or get to Vienna for the New Year this is recommended.’
Ulverston Viennese Gala 2 Jan
‘First time we had attended an orchestral concert and what a treat it was. The venue is small and intimate and therefore you feel involved with the performance. The conductor was animated throughout and the music delightfully played by an orchestra of various ages. We were also treated to several opera pieces sung by a superb soprano with a captivating face and smile. I couldn’t take my eyes of her !
We were in the balcony row D and they were excellent seats that we would try for again. Having said that because the venue is small I think you could sit anywhere and still enjoy it. We will be back again next year.’