Friday the 6th of February; with a short one hour train ride from Bratislava I am in Vienna. Tram #18 from the Hauptbahnhof gets me to the Westbahnhof. I exit on to Mariahilfenstrasse and the hostel where I will stay for the next two nights. Relieved of my suitcase, I now take the Ubahn No. 3 from the Westbahnhof to Stephansplatz. I have my first krainer and then find myself on Kärntnerstrasse … feels like I have travelled back in time. I recognize so many of the street names and stores even though it has been almost twenty years since I last strolled in the heart of this beautiful city.
My destination was the Musikverein. I was attending a concert at three thirty that was being conducted by Miran Vaupotic, whom I met several years ago in Prince George when he was there as a guest conductor for one of the PG Symphony’s concerts. A complimentary ticket had been arranged by Miran and I was to pick it up at the ticket wicket. Wow, the first seat in the first Loge. The ticket alone was impressive with gold gilding on one side and roughly 5″ by 7″ or in metric 125 by 175 mm. I am one very fortunate lady. I could have tapped the cellist on the shoulder. Now that my feet are back on terra firma let me give you a few details of and they are purely from my perspective.
About the concert: first there is the venue… There are no words to describe the Musikverein. It has been many years since I was here but I still remember that concert. It featured a Russian orchestra and the soloist played Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, not the most challenging piece of work, but it was interpreted beautifully and executed brilliantly. No wonder that I still remember it.
This concert featured The Budapest Symphony Orchestra, MAV, and as already mentioned, the conductor was Miran Vaupotic. In the first half of the concert, the orchestra provided an accompaniment to two soloist. The first was a soprano, Sooyeon Kim. She sang an aria from Dvorak’s Rusalka followed by two war horses in the opera repertoire. One was from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Un bel di, vendremo and the other was from Verdi’s La Traviata. And you guessed it. It was Violetta’s aria, Estramo … Sempre libera. There is promise and potential here and please remember that this is my opinion. I am not a musicologist nor professional music critique. During a performance, I simply ask myself how is this making me feel? And this performer left me with a very pleasant feeling. The second soloist, a violinist who played Mozart’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A major left me bored. I love Mozart and also happen to like this particular concerto but I did not sense any bravado, excitement or originality in the interpretation and execution. In fact I thought the performer was almost as bored as I was. Again, this is a very personal interpretation.
What I would like to mention here is that the role of the conductor is to support and provide an embellishment to the soloist, who is the real star. This places a restraint on the conductor and requires tremendous control, especially when soloist and conductor are not at the same level of musical competence. And again, in my opinion, Miran did this beautifully, always aware of the soloist’s next move and holding the orchestra in check so as to allow the soloist all the time and space in order not to overpower her. This was done masterfully!
Then there was an intermission and in the second half of the concert, the conductor really came into his own. Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 had me riveted right from the first note. Miran and the orchestra were truly fused and he gave way to his artistry in total abandon, bringing out the best in each of the musicians. I happened to have a very good seat where I could see the faces and expressions of the musicians and their energy was also transformed. Very different from what I had seen during the first half of the concert. I do not think that Miran was physically there … He was completely immersed and focused in every note that was being emitted by each instrument. And the audience sensed this as well for at the end they erupted into an uproarious applause and went on and on.
I genuinely believe that this young man, Miran Vaupotic, is someone to remember. His name is going to become more and more evident. I share a very short thirty second Video clip. Unfortunately I did not have the equipment to do this justice nor do I have the technical know-how but wanted to capture a little of the electrifying energy. Remember the name Miran Vaupotic. Google him. He is well worth knowing!
Sent from my iPad