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VERSATILE VOICES

Vienna Boys’ Choir pay homage to trad, pop worlds

by Mariko Kato

Vienna Boys’ Choir, known for their exquisite voices and on-stage charm, return to Japan to give 23 performances across the country from April 27 to June 17.

The attraction of this particular tour lies not merely in the classic repertoire that confirms the boys’ talents, but in their command of other genres such as musicals, world music and pop songs that displays their flexibility and sense of fun.

Vienna Boys’ Choir is one of the best of its kind in the world. Founded to perform at the Viennese Court, it individually auditions boy sopranos and altos between the ages of 10 and 14 from across the globe. Mozart and 19th-century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner rehearsed their own music with the choir, while composer Franz Schubert was a member in his youth.

The choir is performing several different programs over the course of this tour. In the adventurously titled “Around the World,” the boys show their versatility by performing traditional songs from Russia, Spain, South Africa, Argentina and Australia. They even arrange “Nada so so,” written by the Okinawan folk group Begin, and a huge chart hit for the female singer Rimi Natsukawa in 2003.

Of course, the more traditional repertoire is also there in abundance, from Alessandro Scarlatti and Mozart to Schubert and Camille Saint-Saens. They end with a classic Viennese flourish, Johann Strauss’ “The Blue Danube.”

The “Around the World” program takes place May 4 and June 2, 17 at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall; May 19 at The Symphony Hall, Osaka; and June 10 at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall.

Another equally exciting program explores the “Fascination of Popular Songs.” The first half pays homage to the more traditional vocal works of Haydn, Mozart and Mendelssohn. In the second half, the boys perform tunes from more recent times, such as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” and “Somewhere.” This program too, includes arrangements of both enka and Japanese pop songs and finishes with Strauss waltzes and polkas. This program will be performed on May 6 and June 16 at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall and May 20 at The Symphony Hall, Osaka.

The Vienna Boys’ Choir will also be performing in Kawasaki, Okayama and Sapporo.

Tickets for all shows are 1,000-7,000 yen yen. For dates, call Japan Arts Pia at (03) 5237-7711.