WAGNER BENEFIT CONCERT
In aid of the Vienna Boys Choir’s Concert Hall
| Concert | Adults
When he was young, baritone Thomas Weinhappel’s time in the Vienna Boys Choir was overshadowed by repeated surgical operations. So he knows from his own experience how artists will come together to support each other as best they can, especially in times of trouble.
On the eve of one of those operations, the eleven-year-old Weinhappel prayed to God to restore his health, so he would be able to sing once more and go on tour with the Choir.
The Vienna Boys Choir’s teaching staff recognised not only the boy’s talent, but also the drive and desire that went with it, and they helped him wherever they could.
Now that MuTh – which is not just a home for artistic diversity, but also the Vienna Boys Choir’s rehearsal stage and concert hall – finds itself under severe financial pressure, the baritone wants to repay the help he received back then, and to put into practice something that he learned in the Choir, alongside his musical education: when times get tough, we stick together, stand by each other, and tackle challenges head-on.
For Thomas Weinhappel, as a native of Lower Austria, performing this benefit concert on the State Holiday of his regional homeland is a particular pleasure, especially under the patronage of Ms. Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Governor of Lower Austria.
He explained his idea about helping MuTh – and, in so doing, helping the Vienna Boys’ Choir – to the Moldova-born concert pianist and MUK professor Alexandra Goloubitskaia. She immediately agreed to take part, especially as the programme includes extracts from operas by Richard Wagner, since she has a particular love of this music. Indeed, in 2021, during the coronavirus pandemic, her solo piano took on the role of a full orchestra when she played a gala performance of the “Ring of the Nibelungen” at the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden.
Around the same time, critics attending the Wagner festival “Götterklang trifft Donaugold” (Twilight of the Gods meets Rhinegold) in Lower Austria told Weinhappel that he could well be a new Wotan. This followed the change he made at the start of the pandemic when, encouraged by the advice he received from Wagner specialist Stefan Mikisch, he shifted the focus of his singing to the dramatic form – a talent which he demonstrates to great effect in this concert held at, and in aid of, MuTh.
Ursula Wies, the Vienna-born actress and Wagner enthusiast, hosts the evening. With this year marking the 210th anniversary of the great composer’s birth, she will provide audience members – including those few who are perhaps not such huge fans of Wagner – with insights into his life and work. The musical performances will be interspersed with anecdotes and analysis.
Auszüge aus Opern von Richard Wagner