MNB Blog

The legendary Vienna Boys Choir perform in Moncton

Posted by
dawn

The Capitol Theatre is proud to present a concert with the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir on Sunday, March 19th at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Capitol Theatre Box Office at $55 for members and $59 for the general public. The TD Arts Access program is offered on this performance (tickets at 50% off for people under 30). This performance is presented by Delta Beauséjour as part of the 2016-2017 Capitol Theatre season presented by Louisbourg Investments.

Boys have been singing at the court in Vienna since the 14th century. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts and private functions, and on state occasions. Musicians like Heinrich Isaac, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Johann Joseph Fux, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Caldara, Antonio Salieri, Christoph Willibald Gluck, and Anton Bruckner worked with the choir. Composers Jacobus Gallus, and Franz Schubert were themselves choristers.

In 1918, after the breakdown of the Habsburg Empire, the Austrian government took over the court opera, its orchestra and the adult singers, but not the Boys choir. Josef Schnitt, who became Dean of the Imperial Chapel in 1921, turned the Vienna Boys Choir into a private institution. The former choir boys of the imperial court became the Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys Choir) and the imperial uniform was replaced by the sailor suit, then the height of boys’ fashion. There was not enough money to pay for the Boys upkeep, and the choir started to give concerts outside of the chapel in 1926, performing motets, secular works, and – at the Boys request – children’s operas. The impact was amazing. Within a year, the choir performed in Berlin (where Erich Kleiber conducted them), Prague and Zurich. In 1928, they performed in Athens and Riga followed by Spain, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden (1929), the United States (1932), Australia (1934) and South America (1936). Since 1926, the choir has undertaken close to 1000 tours in 100 different countries.

Today there are 100 choristers from 30 different nations between the ages of ten and fourteen, divided into four touring choirs. Between them, the four choirs give around 300 concerts and performances each year in front of almost half a million people. Each group spends nine to eleven weeks of the school year on tour. They visit virtually all European countries and they are frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas.

The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music. Motets and lieder for Boys choir form the core of the touring repertoire, as do the choir’s own arrangements of quintessentially Viennese music, waltzes and polkas by Lanner and Strauss.

Tickets for the Vienna Boys Choir are on sale at the Capitol Theatre Box Office (811 Main Street, Moncton). They can also be purchased by calling 506-856-4379 or 1-800-567-1922 or online, at www.capitol.nb.ca. For more information on the TD Arts Access program, contact the Box Office.