The new year begins with a waltz

`Salute to Vienna' is playing in 33 cities

Stage: music, theater, dance

January 01, 2004|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

Americans can get as nationalistic as anyone else, but when it comes to music, they can also be amazingly adoptive. Every Fourth of July, for example, Americans salute their independence from Britain by cranking up the 1812 Overture, a composition by Tchaikovsky celebrating Napoleon's defeat in Russia. Go figure.

And for several years now, Americans have demonstrated a keen interest in celebrating the New Year with light Viennese music. Thanks to the televised broadcasts of the enormously popular New Year's Day concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic, people all over the world have come to associate lilting waltz strains and bouncy polkas with the start of another calendar.

In the United States, this appreciation has been given extra fuel by an ambitious enterprise founded by a Canadian impresario, Attila Glatz, and his wife. Since 1995, their concert production company has been presenting Salute to Vienna programs all over this country and Canada. The programs provide a taste of what audiences in Vienna get each New Year's Day in the famed Musikverein.

Between Dec. 31 and Jan. 4, Salute to Vienna will be presented in 33 North American cities, including Baltimore, where an ensemble of 75 instrumentalists, singers and dancers will offer the inimitable sounds of Johann Strauss and his contemporaries. (By the way, the Glatz productions are recognized by the city of Vienna as authentic Viennese celebrations and endorsed by the heads of the Austrian government.)

Giving the Salute to Vienna in Baltimore will be Swiss soprano Christiane Boesiger, Austrian tenor Thomas Sigwald, members of the Vienna Opera Ballet, and the Strauss Symphony of America (featuring members of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia). Johannes Wildner, leader of the Johann Strauss-Ensemble of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra will be on the podium.

The concert is at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $35 to $67. Call 410-783-8000.

For more theater, classical music and dance events, see Page 35.

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