On Monday evening I was at the Ronacher Theater in Vienna, Austria for the Wider die Gewalt (Gala Against Violence). I was there earlier in the evening to meet Austrian singer Conchita Wurst, and then stayed on to see her perform on stage as one of the top billed acts. A concert I already felt privileged to be able to attend, and one with some excellent acts, but even more so once Conchita Wurst came on and began to sing.
That’s because, for the first time ever, she performed three of her songs without their normal music tracks, and simply accompanied by a pianist and a piano.
Those three songs — ‘You Are Unstoppable‘, ‘Where Have All The Good Men Gone‘ and her Eurovision winning song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘ are three of my favorite Conchita Wurst songs anyway. Add in the simple piano accompaniment, however, and the way she sang them and, frankly, this performance was one of the best she has ever done.
That’s because singing with just piano has always been one of Conchita’s strengths, and she doesn’t do it anywhere near as often as she should. Especially as, without the usual audio tracks with all their bells and whistles, you realize quickly how incredible her voice truly is, how much stronger it is than even just a year ago, and what a gorgeous technique she now has.
What was also interesting to me was how simple her performance was in staging, just standing on a darkened stage next to a piano wearing chic baggy leather pants and an elegant black top. Yet, even in its simplicity the power of her performance, and the richness of her voice, were absolutely evident.
In fact, Conchita’s Wider die Gewalt performance is one of the most elegant, beautiful and, honestly, quite touching I’ve seen her give. And with a purity of sound and feeling that was stunning.
A fact the audience obviously also noticed as well as the screams, the standing ovation and the stamping of hundreds of feet she got at the end of it could attest to.
All I know is she looked absolutely delighted with the reaction her stripped down performance of these three songs produced and, for me, that added to my enjoyment of the evening even more.
Watch Conchita Wurst’s performance of her three piano accompanied songs at Wider die Gewalt in Vienna in the videos below, and do pay special attention to how stunning her voice really is.
Because, to be able to give that powerful and beautiful a performance without a sometimes distracting music track masking her voice, shows the remarkable talent of this equally remarkable woman.
In fact, from the seat at the Ronacher where I sat, about eight rows back from where she stood, she sounded absolutely magnificent. A true world-class singer indeed.
And someone who is still as surprising today as she was the first day I ever laid eyes on her. Especially as you keep thinking she has reached the top of her game only to discover, no, she’s barely started.