REVIEW: Masterful singing at Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Viennese night

New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, The Dome, December 31

It was a real treat to see in the New Year in the company of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Dome festive favourite Stephen Bell.

Equally heartwarming was the fact that this year the secret was well and truly out.

How good it was to see the Dome all but full as we enter another year with the city’s pride and joy still catering to the classical music needs of many of its inhabitants and some of those further along the coast.

After the traumas of recent years the orchestra’s long-term future now appears more secure, although these days it means a more streamlined annual winter season.

The BPO certainly were well on top of their game and appear to relish working with Bell, especially in this traditional new year’s eve Viennese-style concert. The audience again enjoyed the mix and clearly were captivated by the coloratura excellence of soprano Rebecca Bottone.

No doubt she offered not only beautiful and masterly singing but also full value for money, serving up six classics from Josef Strauss as well as Franz Lehar, Gilbert and Sullivan, Fritz Kreisler and Carl Zeller.

She also left the Dome faithful in seventh heaven with an Italian encore of Arditi’s Il Bacio.

There were many of the Strauss clan favourites included, although Bell admitted it was perhaps a little risky equally to for once leave out the sublime ‘Blue Danube’. The inclusion of the equally memorable ‘Emperor Waltz’ was more than adequate compensation.

For the second year running the Viennese theme was given a British twist by the inclusion of several home grown offerings.

Four more concerts follow early in the new year, with the next featuring the fast-rising piano star Joseph Moog playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. The first half of the programme on Sunday, January 15, also features Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, while the second half solely comprises Dvorak’s Symphony No 8. Conductor Ben Gernon adds to the youthful input.

To find out more visit www.brightonphil.org.uk.

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