By Linda Sickler / Savannah Morning News; featured in the DO

Read the original article here

The Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra will transport its audience to Vienna, Austria, on Feb. 1.

The Philharmonic will present “A Night in Vienna,” a performance of Strauss’ most beloved waltzes as they would be performed on New Year’s Eve in Vienna. There also will be some jaunty dances, including polkas, as soloists Sara Peeples and Ian O’Brien join in the fun.

The soloists were selected for the performance in collaboration with the VOICExperience Foundation, an educational training program for opera singers that now has a branch in Savannah.

Songs will include “The Blue Danube,” “The Gypsy Baron Overture” and many other audience favorites. Ticketholders may also choose to attend an educational pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m., presented by the Savannah Friends of Music.

“I have wanted to do a Viennese New Year’s Day type concert here in Savannah for years,” says artistic director and conductor Peter Shannon. “Those concerts are just so elegant — full of Strauss waltzes and polkas, they are light and full of cheer.

“As with many beautiful things, they appear deceptively simple, but they are extraordinary difficult to play well,” he says, “I’m willing to bet that the Savannah Philharmonic will do them justice, though. Get your tickets early for this one — we’ll have you dancing with New Year’s cheer.”

“This is something Peter has wanted to do for a while,” says Philharmonic executive director David Pratt. “It’s based on his experience in Europe.

“Every New Year’s Eve in Vienna, they play all these beautiful waltzes, polkas and other romantic music. We wouldn’t do a concert on New Year’s Eve, so we said, ‘Let’s do it in winter.’”

This is the first time the orchestra has done a whole program of this kind of music, Pratt says. “Those people who have danced over the years will know the waltzes and polka music,” he says.

“This is an opportunity for the orchestra to play this beautiful music from the Romantic period,” Pratt says. “And we have two wonderful rising stars in the opera world.”

The Philharmonic has formed a partnership with VOICE, Pratt says. “A lot of our soloists this season were brought from that program,” he says.

“These are people to watch in the opera world,” Pratt says. “They are still very young, and their voices are absolutely beautiful.”