DPO presents a New Year’s Eve musical journey from Paris to Vienna
There once was a long-distance passenger train that ran from Paris to Istanbul, crossing many international borders en route. It was just a train, nothing more. Perhaps the exotic locations it connected lent it an air of mystique. Perhaps it was something much more….
In 1883, the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits initiated railway service on a train it named the Orient Express. Its purpose was to carry passengers in relative style and comfort and provide an enjoyable travel experience.
It was, to say the least, an overachiever.
Imagine for a second what a trip from Paris to Vienna must have been like in 1883. In Paris, the City of Light, you would board the train at Gare de Strasbourg station for a 6:30 pm departure, and a mere 28 hours and 50 minutes later you would arrive in Vienna, Austria, the City of Waltzes. And while, admittedly, that is a very long time by today’s travel standards, the employees of Wagons-Lits did everything possible to make your trip optimally enjoyable.
It started with the train itself. In addition to the locomotive and other support cars, the Orient Express consisted of a baggage car, four sleeping coaches with a total of 58 beds, and a restaurant car.
And when Wagons-Lits said restaurant car, they meant restaurant car. A typical menu might include oysters, soup with Italian pasta, turbot with green sauce, chicken à la chasseur, fillet of beef with château potatoes, chaud-froid of game animals, lettuce, chocolate pudding, and a buffet of desserts.
Sort of like C’est Tout or Rue Dumaine, only on wheels.
Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents Paris to Vienna: A New Year’s Celebration on Saturday, December 31 at 8pm at the Schuster Center
At first Express d’Orient as the French called it ran only as far as Vienna and back; eventually it expanded its service as far as Istanbul. Regardless of its name and the frontiers it crossed, the Orient Express was as French as French gets. The various stations in the countries along its route lent the train an air of intrigue, and its method of operation and attention to style and personal comfort made it a world standard for luxury travel.
In her novel Murder on the Orient Express, prolific English mystery writer Agatha Christie immortalized the train. And, when he wrote the score for the 1974 film of the same name, Richard Rodney Bennett captured the spirit of the experience of riding the fabled train with a main theme written, fittingly, in the style of a luxurious romantic waltz. The song mimicked the movement of the train itself, starting haltingly (short wheel spins), slowly building tempo (gaining steam), and finally waltzing with abandon (running at top speed).
In 2009, the Orient Express ceased operation, shot in the operational heart by a bullet train, the 186-mile-per-hour TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), and bombed out of the market by cut-rate airlines.
But its musical spirit lives on.
This New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31 at 8pm in the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents Paris to Vienna: A New Year’s Celebration. It can be your ticket to a musical ride on the Orient Express.
Your journey starts in Paris, where the music of Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jacques Offenbach, Emmanuel Chabrier, and Maurice Ravel gets your evening off and running at full speed.
Back on board, the musical program of light classics, opera arias, and festive favorites continues. Vienna is just around the next bend; the music of Johann Strauss, Jr., the Waltz King – overtures, marches, polkas, and (of course) waltzes – completes the journey.
And a balloon drop in the Mead Theater celebrates your arrival.
Bonne Année! A guads Neichs Johr olle mitanand!
Happy New Year!
We’ve partnered with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra to give away TWO PAIRS of tickets to Paris to Vienna: A New Year’s Celebration! Simply fill out the form below for a chance to win – we’ll draw winners on Friday, December 9 at 2pm. Check back here or on our Facebook page to find out if you are a winner… GOOD LUCK!
Congratulations to our two random winners:
Happy New Year!