Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert revisits the splendor of 1899 Europe

This New Year’s Day a traditional Viennese concert will usher in the New Year for the 21st time at Place des Arts.

Recreating an 80-year-old tradition born in the Austrian city, Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert is what co-founders Marion and Attila Glatz call a “moment’s opportunity to pause and look back over the past year and to welcome the new one.” For two and a half hours, audiences are treated to a full orchestra performing an evergreen programme of musical favourites drawn from the 1890s, featuring polkas and operetta hits by composers like Strauss, Lehár, and Kálmán. Duets, arias, and classical ballet, as well as international standard ballroom choreography, are performed by a European cast. The concert’s Viennese conductor is also its master of ceremonies, involving the audience through story-telling and gentle humour. The concert is unique to North America in its treatment of popular music from almost 150 years ago; this music, which was written to entertain and to divert, is performed with respect to its origins of frivolity and fun, and the cast clearly enjoys their time on the stage.

And this is precisely the point, according to Marion Glatz: “When I was a girl, the Neujahrskonzert brought us together around the radio and then later the television set. It wasn’t heavy or serious, but it was a time where we all paused to listen to some of the most romantic and nostalgic music that we loved from operettas.” Now grandparents themselves, the Glatzes say they are even more keenly aware of the importance of taking stock as the New Year turns over. “The beauty of this concert is that it magically suspends us in time and allows us to look both backward and forward,” smiles Marion.

“We are very proud that our work fosters culture-sharing between Europe and North America,” Attila Glatz says. Preserving the heritage of the European-style performances is crucial to the value of the Salute to Vienna concerts for the pair, and it has paid off. Produced since 1995, Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert will ring in the New Year in 24 cities across the USA and Canada this season. Attila Glatz was a concert pianist before they launched a concert production business over 30 years ago after immigrating to Canada, and they now split their time between their business headquarters in Toronto and their beloved Vienna where they travel each year to hire soloists and conductors.

At Place des Arts on January 1, the Strauss Symphony of Montréal will be under the baton of Viennese conductor Andreas Spörri, while Viennese soprano Patricia Nessy and tenor Iurie Ciobanu perform with members of the Austrian ballet company Europaballett St.Pölten and International Champion Ballroom Dancers. The programme includes overtures and selections from operettas Die FledermausMerry Widow, and Gypsy Baron, as well as favourite waltzes, and as Attila Glatz notes, two encore pieces that are never missed: “The Blue Danube Waltz and the Radetzky March close every concert!”

Tickets and information at or 514-842-2112.