Johann Strauß, For the Third Time!
For the third consecutive December, Debbie and I enjoyed the Andre Rieu Christmas concert at the Honda Ponda in Anaheim. Both of us dearly love Strauss waltzes, and Rieu and his orchestra play them so well, with a sense of light-hearted fun.
Last year's concert was very much a Christmas concert, heavily loaded with season's typical music selections, and done well. While I enjoyed the program and the Reiu arrangements, I missed a number of the Strauss works for which Rieu is famous.
This year, he went the other way. While the orchestra played its traditional version of "Silent Night," the audience sang along. We clapped enthusiastically during "Jingle Bells," and all were smiling during "Winter Wonderland" and the other Christmas songs.
There was more of a Strauss presence this year--a few dozen couples danced in the aisles to "The Blue Danube," and the applause was enthusiastic after a very energetic performance of "Radetsky's March," "The Emperor's Waltz and a couple of others.
While I'm not much of a fan of opera, and know very little about it, Rieu is beginning to turn me around. There are three tenors in his retinue, and three sopranos. Among them, they sang a few operatic excerpts and and other songs that lend themselves to powerful vocals. The most memorable of these was the aria called "O Mio Babbino Caro," from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini, and sung by the lovely Carmen Monarcha. Many a tear was shed during Ms Monarcha's performance, even in this setting.
Here is the complete concert:
- Seventy-six Trombones (M Wilson)
- Tritsch Tratsch Polka (J. Strauss)
- Rosen aus dem Süden (J. Strauss)
- Nessun Dorma (G. Puccini)
- Eljen a Magyar (J. Strauss)
- Song of the Wolga (F. Lehar)
- Besame Mucho (C Velasquez), Laura Engel, Soloist
- Silent Night (J. Mohr)
- The Holy City (S. Adams)
- White Christmas (I. Berlin)
- Jingle Bells (J. I Pierpoint)
- Gold & Silver (F. Lehar)
- Granada (A. Lara)
- The Girls from the Chantant (E. Kalman)
- Emperor's Waltz (J. Strauss)
- O Mio Babbino Caro (G. Puccini), Carmen Monarcha, Soloist
- The Blue Danube (J. Strauss)
- Concerto Pour une Voix (C. Saint-Preux), Mirusia Louwerse, Soloist
- Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (I. Webber), Mirusia Louwerse, Soloist
- Bolero (M Ravel)
- Radetzky March (J. Strauss)
Rieu's concerts are literally the only ones we've attended in the past three years, except for the ones they have at the Scottish and Celtic fairs in which Debbie's Scottish Fiddlers of LA have performed.
Andre Rieu's concerts are not only a lot of fun, but they're a light-hearted introduction to classical music for those who've thought it dull or too stodgy.
Nineteenth Century rock 'n' roll.