MARCH 17, 2014
By now, you might have heard already about the momentous conductor substitution that transpired over the weekend at Carnegie Hall, when theVienna Philharmonic returned for the last two events of the Vienna: City of Dreams festival. No, not the one Saturday night, when Christoph Eschenbach memorably filled in for an injured Daniele Gatti. I’m talking about Sunday, when, at the end of a long program, Zubin Mehta ceded his baton to the soprano Diana Damrau.
Ms. Damrau’s spectacular singing and cheery demeanor suited her contributions to Johann Strauss Jr.’s bubbly “Frühlingsstimmen Waltz” and a sultry aria from Lehár’s “Giuditta.” For the final encores, she sang Rosalinde’s czardas from Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus,” then served as a dancer and cheerleader for his “Unter Donner und Blitz” Polka Schnell (Op. 324), before Mr. Mehta handed her the baton and guided her to the podium. She waved it merrily about as the orchestra played on.