Celebrate the New Year with the Opera North Orchestra

Published: Wednesday 27th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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The Opera North Orchestra is coming to Hull City Hall and bringing the sounds of Vienna just in time for 2018.

We spoke with its conductor, Justin Brown, to find out why a live orchestra is the best way to welcome in the new year.

What can audiences expect?

A lot of wonderful Viennese music. Expect waltzes, polkas and old-time dances – all that lovely stuff. The show mainly focuses on the work of the Strauss family, who were a dynasty of waltz composers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Johann Strauss was the father and he had three sons who were successful composers. This includes the famous Johann Strauss II, who wrote The Blue Danube and most of the ones that people still know and love today.

We associate this sort of music with New Year’s Eve, why is that?

That’s an interesting question. It wasn’t originally. These songs would be played at any time of the year, in cafes, bars and during concerts. I think sometime in the early 1900s, a member of the Strauss family put on a concert at New Year that was full of all their music.

It was so well-received that it became an unshakable tradition. To this day, the most famous New Year concert of all is the one played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which is watched by millions worldwide.

Why is it so special to see a live orchestra?

I still remember the first time I ever went to a concert as a kid and there’s just something so magical about seeing how the sound is produced.

It’s a wonderful experience to see it live, I think. It doesn’t matter how good your sound system or home cinema is, there’s just something missing. There is definitely an electric atmosphere when you see something performed live and this goes for any genre of music, from rock to classical.

Why should people come along, especially if they have never seen a live orchestra before?

If you have never been to see a live orchestra, you absolutely have to come. I think classical music is often misunderstood; many don’t believe it is for them, many think that there is a dress code or certain rules you have to follow, but this isn’t true at all. The important thing is to just be there and soak it up.

You may realise that you actually know this music and have heard it before. Some of these pieces are so famous that you will know them without even realising. At the same time, we’ve added a few pieces in there that you, or even the classical enthusiasts, may never have listened to before.

It sounds like the perfect way to get in the mood for celebrating 2018.

Absolutely! No concert does it better. It’s a whole lot of fun. Classical music and opera have developed a bit of a reputation for being serious. The Viennese Whirl is all about seeing these artists and musicians let their hair down and enjoy themselves.

You can catch this enchanting concert by Opera North Orchestra on Friday 29 December. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased from the Hull Theatres website. 

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Published: Wednesday 27th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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