So, you and your family have piled into the car and visited every relative. You've been jammed elbow to elbow in endless retail lines. You've eaten and drunk enough to launch a diabetic coma. Now there is only one holiday ritual left: Neujahrskonzert.
What? This fun-to-mispronounce German word loosely translates to "New Year's concert." And though a Miami New Year may be more often associated with eating a dozen grapes or shooting guns in the air, slowly but surely, the annual Salute to Vienna has been, well, waltzing into our local traditions too. Hear and see it this Sunday at the Arsht Center.
"This is the 12th consecutive year at the Arsht Center," says
producer Attila Glatz. Um, the Arsht only opened in 2006, but we get the
point that the Salute to Vienna has been going on a long time, all
around the world. "It's sold out in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago,"
Glatz points out. "In Vienna, this concert is being produced for the
past 75 years, every year. Now with television, it is televised to 1.5
The Miami tradition includes music composed by Johann Strauss. This
year, it's conducted by Viennese conductor Gerhard Track and played by
musicians recruited for the occasion from local orchestras. The music
will be interpreted by dancers from the National Ballet of Hungary, now
celebrating its 125th anniversary, as well as world-champion waltzers
from the Szilver Ballroom Association, also of Hungary. And while we
know Hungary is not in Vienna, it is the site of the beautiful Blue
Danube, which inspired Strauss's most popular waltz.
The waltz has been around since 1776, but the Salute to Vienna never
gets old. "Every year it's a new cast," Glatz explains. "Totally
different waltzes and polkas." But the old favorites always come back,
and the crowd goes wild. "We always do two to three encores," Glatz
adds. "It's like a pop concert. The waltzes, the polkas, are so
uplifting. It just makes everybody feel good. It's like a glass of
champagne; it goes down smooth." With all that, who needs bottle service
at a South Beach club?
Start waltzing into the New Year at 7 p.m. on Sunday at the
Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall (1300 NE Biscayne Blvd, Miami). Tickets cost $45 to $105. Call
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305-949-6722 or visit salutetovienna.com.
--Nelson Hernandez ofArtburstmiami.com