Preview: ‘Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert’ Promises to Transport Modern Audiences with Dazzling Old World Charm

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Salute to Vienna has been a staple of the holiday season for more than 20 years in North America, and Washington welcomes it back for a 17th year on December 30, 2017. Based on the Vienna Philharmonic’s beloved Neujahrskonzert that has delighted Austrian audiences for 80 years, Salute to Vienna is the only New Year’s Concert officially recognized by the Viennese government.

Annual Salute to Vienna conert at David Geffen Hall, January 2017. Photo by Chris Lee

Imagine, for a moment, that you are in an elegant opera house in Vienna. You allow yourself to be carried away by the sound of a grand traditional waltz. You see dancers, singers, musicians — costumed in vibrant attire and performing a splendid selection of operetta and classical music. When Christmas has passed and you’re looking for something sophisticated and fun to do to celebrate the New Year: Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert promises to transport you to the resplendent concert halls of Austria, allowing you to partake in a celebration of Old World traditions while being surrounded by the foremost European and international talents — right at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Led by acclaimed Austrian Conductor Bernhard Schneider, formerly of the Vienna State Opera and current choirmaster of the Graz Opera, the Strauss Symphony of America performs memorable selections from the operettas of Strauss including Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus. Maestro Schneider emphasizes Salute to Vienna’s uniqueness, “The show is a very good mix of high-quality entertainment in the best sense of the word. Classic Viennese music performed to a high standard, international singers, ballet and ballroom dancing, and beautiful costumes in an intelligent, informative and fun presentation – those are the ingredients for a beautiful and worthwhile New Year’s concert.”

Salute to Vienna 2016 at David Geffen Hall, January 2016. Photo by Chris Lee

Gorgeous dance movements are sure to delight young and old. The Strauss Symphony accompanies the International Champion Ballroom Dancers and Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine as they entertain with upbeat polkas and romantic ballet, a staple of Viennese culture. Maestro Schneider continues, “To me, the most exciting aspect is bringing together so many interesting and culturally invested people. Many of them have their roots or relatives or other connections to Europe and they enjoy this tradition around New Year’s Eve. They are so moved by this music and they come back every year to keep this connection to their roots.”

Soprano Micaëla Oeste and tenor Tilmann Unger join the Strauss Symphony of America in their performance of operetta numbers. Micaëla Oeste has circled the globe in concert with Maestro Plácido Domingo, and has performed in the Washington National Opera’s Un ballo in maschera and Falstaff. Tilmann Unger is a former ensemble member of Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, as well as the soloist ensemble of Theater Augsburg, and State Theatre at Gärtnerplatz. Mr. Unger has performed with the state operas and theatres of Vienna, Graz, Linz, and Innsbruck in Austria, as well as Dresden, Hanover, Nuremberg, Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe, and Mainz in Germany.

From the vibrant colors of the costumes to the musical evocations of the European landscape, Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert will treat audiences to an afternoon full of fun, beauty, and laughter. After a whirlwind year, Salute to Vienna is certain to refresh the spirit and set the stage for a joyous 2018.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert will take place at 3 pm on December 30, 2017, at The Music Center at Strathmore— 5301 Tuckerman Ln, North Bethesda, MD 20852. For tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or go online.