New Philharmonic welcomes 2024 with three New Year's Eve concerts Dec. 31 at the MAC

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier'," wrote English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Yes, all of us want the coming 2024 to be happier than the previous year, and the New Philharmonic, the only professional orchestra in DuPage County, has a wonderful tradition.

Every year, it organizes beautiful New Year's Eve concerts that light up people's hearts, please their minds, and help them to start the new year with positive feelings and a great mood.

This year is not an exception. Under the baton of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, the New Philharmonic will present its New Year's Eve concerts at 1:30, 5 and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, at the McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn.

All three performances will feature guest bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba and include a highly entertaining program of waltzes, marches, polkas, and light classical music. Besides that, the audience members will have a wonderful opportunity to raise a glass of champagne with Maestro Muspratt, Richard Ollarsaba, and the members of the beautiful MAC community.

Ollarsaba is a Mexican-American bass-baritone. He is a native of Tempe, Arizona. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Master of Music and post-graduate certificate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was a member of the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago for three seasons, and a grand finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

The Washington Post praised Ollarsaba for his "meltingly smooth bass-baritone" and for "evoking a young Ruggero Raimondi in looks and manner." Ollarsaba represented the USA in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, one of the most prestigious international vocal competitions. Ollarsaba won the American Opera Society of Chicago 2015 Best Vocalist Award. Recently, he performed a title role in "Don Giovanni" with Opera Hong Kong, Opera Grand Rapids and Opera Carolina; and the role of Figaro in "Le nozze di Figaro" with New Zealand Opera and Minnesota Opera.

At the New Philharmonic's New Year's Eve concerts, Ollarsaba will perform the Toreador Aria from "Carmen" by George Bizet, Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy. In the opera, it is sung by the bullfighter Escamillo as he enters in act 2 and describes various situations in the bullring, the cheering of the crowds and the fame that comes with victory. Many of the audience members will recognize the refrain, "Toréador, en garde", which forms the middle part of the prelude to act 1 of Carmen.

Ollarsaba also will sing "Hymne A L'amour," with music by Marguerite Monnot and lyrics by Édith Piaf. This popular French song will create a nice environment and a happy mood. "Long Before I Knew You" from "The Bells Are Ringing" by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Julie Styne will continue the concert program. It was first released in 1956 and was performed by many artists, but now it will sound fresh and new again being performed by Ollarsaba.

The guest vocalist will also be showcased in an audience sing-along of the traditional New Year's Eve "Auld Lang Syne" by Robert Burns.

The New Philharmonic will also present everyone's favorite orchestral works. They will include Edward Stauss' "Knall und Fall Polka." The happy sounds of this composition will make you want to dance! This wonderful and joyous fast piece will be followed by "The Blue Danube" waltz.

"The Blue Danube" is the common English title of "An der schönen blauen Donau", a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866. Its elegant, touching, and charming sounds will swirl in the air and touch everyone's heart.

A selection from "Dance of the Comedians" from Bedrich Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" will impress everyone with its energy and optimism. Eric Coates' "The Dam Busters March" will make the audience members feel happy and playful. Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" will raise a feeling of patriotism, and Johann Strauss Sr.'s "Radetsky March" will add to the New Year's Eve concerts the feeling of hope, elegance, and an anticipation of something good to happen.

For tickets or more information, visit or call the MAC box office at (630) 942-4000. Tickets are $70-$80.

Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. and two hours prior to the performance. For the holidays, the MAC box office will be closed Dec. 22- 27. It will be open noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 28-30; and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 31. Regular hours return Jan. 2.

These concerts are sponsored by the Sullivan Taylor Family Trust.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.