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10 Downright Bizarre Classical Music Facts

‘Bizarre’ and ‘Classical’ aren’t often uttered in the same sentence, but the truth is that there are plenty of downright bizarre facts and strange stories to be found and told.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert has had its share of exciting/stressful/strange moments too, and we’ll share a few of those as well!

Celebrate 2024 with Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert. Tickets on sale now.


<< No one ever thought a violin was simple to build, but did you know a single violin requires more than 70 individual pieces of wood?

How many coffee beans were in your cuppa this morning? Beethoven counted 60 every morning to ensure his morning kickstart was just right.

Froggy luck? You’ve heard of using a rabbit’s foot for luck, but composer and pianist Edvard Grieg would pat his good-luck frog before a concert.

Ever notice how orchestra pits have nets overtop of them? This is to allow the sound out and avoid what happened one fateful performance of Boris Godunov at Sydney Opera House. The opera featured some livestock on stage, and one enthusiastic chicken walked right off the stage and fell into the lap of a cellist in the pit below! >>

During the first London performance of Handel’s Messiah, King George II stood up as soon as the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ started. It then became traditional for audiences to stand for this famous chorus.

Close call: The London Symphony Orchestra was booked to travel on the Titanic's maiden voyage. Luckily for them, they changed ships at the 11th hour!

<< 18th Century violins were particularly smooth, and organically so! Dogfish skin was often used to sand them.

Costumes are incredibly important at Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert. One year not long ago, a wardrobe malfunction occurred on New Year’s Day, 15 minutes before the beginning of the concert. The zipper split up the side of our soprano’s dress. Without time to spare, and only a needle without thread, we pulled apart a scarf of a similar colour, and sewed her into her dress with wool and a running stitch! No one was the wiser!

Hungarian composer Franz Liszt was so popular with his fans, and so many of them wanted a lock of his hair, that he got a dog whose fur he would snip and pass off as his own. >>

One of our Salute to Vienna sopranos helped us perform a bit of a “magic trick” one year. She performed The Drinking Song, an operetta classic, and staggered off stage left only to appear one second later staggering onto stage from stage right! Want to know how we did it? Her identical twin sister was also an accomplished soprano and helped us pull off this hilarious gag!

Celebrate 2024 with Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert. Tickets on sale now.


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