Tag Archives: Vienna

OGAE FAN STAND – KYIV, UKRAINE

OGAE Finland was very active at the OGAE fan stand in Kyiv during the Eurovision song contest and ESCCovers met up with Petteri Hilska and his sister Karoliina from Finland. They were doing a shift at the fan stand and we rewarded them with some CD’s. We already published a photo of Petteri and now it is the turn of Karoliina. She asked Roy from South Africa about the South African boy band HI 5 as she knew they covered several euro songs in Afrikaans. Karoliina got some of the special CD’s we made for Vienna when Eurovision celebrated 60 years. On these CD’s are a lot of Afrikaans covers of Eurovision songs.

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Måns brings the Heroes Tour to London

 

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As the winners tour concluded last night in Copenhagen.  Let’s have a look at some of the great moments that Måns gave us.  Back on the London leg of the tour, just outside London’s West End at the gay venue, Heaven, Måns delivered a very intimate concert to a massive crowd.  Performing most of his new album, Perfectly Damaged, but also some amazing favourites of the past.

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He pleased the crowd by performing the Melodifestivalen 2009 finalist classic, Hope & Glory but it was the Mirrors Tung Version, which was a funk rock version of the song that still had an infectious beat.

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He then sang the ever popular Cara Mia from Melodifestivalen 2007, which in my eyes still should of won of that year.

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And of course no evening would be complete without the 2015 Eurovision winner, Heroes.  Annouced by Conchita and replaying that winning moment back in Vienna.

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Overall, it was a night to remember and can’t wait for the next time that Måns stops off in London.  He is welcome back anytime.

 

LETTER TO TURKEY – EMILY SMITH (Australia)

An open letter to TRT

 

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to you about Turkey’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, imploring you to reconsider your decision to not attend in 2016.

As a great fan of Eurovision, and of Turkish entries in particular, it deeply saddens me that you have withdrawn from the contest indefinitely. It is particularly disappointing that you have cited moral objections, as Eurovision is inherently about inclusion and diversity. The contest is a celebration of differences, with no one being unwelcome: even Australia attended this year! What makes Eurovision so great is the manifestation of diverse cultures, attitudes and beliefs all coming together in one event. While your government may have objections to certain events that have occurred within the contest, it is a great shame for you to remove yourself entirely.

The theme of inclusivity is extremely relevant now, with Turkey playing such a pivotal role in the current Syrian refugee crisis. Participating in Eurovision again would be a wonderful gesture of Turkey’s willingness to be a part of the European community, with a view to improving diplomatic relations with the rest of Europe. The political implications of Eurovision participation cannot be lost on you, with you yourselves initially withdrawing for political reasons. While the contest was initially established as a tool to unify Europe after World War II, it continues to foster harmony amongst European nations. In the face of a global humanitarian crisis, continental unity is critical and Eurovision holds the key.

Politics aside, it is worth noting that Turkey has had great Eurovision success in recent years. Reaching the top ten seven times in ten years is a remarkable feat, and one of which you must be proud. Your bold stage presentations and Mediterranean/oriental flavoured pop music products are a winning combination; the voting population cannot get enough. And just think, Eurovision 2017 held in Istanbul could even further strengthen Turkey’s relationship with the rest of Europe. This could be a key opportunity for you to use the recent popularity of Turkish music and culture to your advantage.

Looking closer to home, Eurovision is very popular within Turkey itself. This year, hotel searches for Vienna increased by 91% in Turkey, higher than in any other country in the world. Clearly there is still huge support for Eurovision within Turkey. It is a great shame that Turkish fans can no longer enjoy the broadcast from within their own country, in addition to not being represented on the stage.

Let’s not forget that there are approximately 150,000 Turkish people living in Sweden. They must also be very disappointed that a representative from their homeland will not be joining them in Stockholm. There are millions of Turkish people living across Europe who are actively involved with Eurovision, as displayed in Eurovision voting. Turkey has historically received the most points from Germany, which has the largest Turkish population in the world outside of Turkey, estimated at four million people. The second and third most points received have come from France and the Netherlands, who have the second and third largest Turkish populations in Europe. Vast numbers of Turkish people at home and abroad support Eurovision and they are being let down by your non-participation.

There are a multitude of reasons why Turkey should reconsider their position, but in the end it boils down to this: a Eurovision without Turkey does not feel complete. Something is missing. Your absence is felt deeply by all the fans, Turkish and otherwise, and we urge you to rejoin us.

Kind regards,

Huge Eurovision fan

MAMMA MIA – SONG ELEVEN

Just a look and I can hear a bell ringing, one more look and I forget everything.

Well, I am sure none of you will forget EVERYTHING when it comes to Eurovision.

I think outside of Eurovision fans, most people regard MAMMA MIA as the most known ABBA song due to the movie and musical. While we were in Vienna, MAMMA MIA was running and some of our members went to see it. I guess some did not see it in Vienna but somewhere else and I think the question is

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER BEST OF MAMMA MIA

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Melodifestivalen Final 2015 – Sweden Decides Tonight

In Stockholm tonight at the Friends Arena the Swedish public and international juries will choose this year’s Swedish entry for the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.  With a special performance by last year’s winner, Conchita Wurst.

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Twelve songs will be competing for the title this year as four, instead of two, songs proceeded to the final from last week’s Andra Chansen (Second Chance) round.  The standard of songs this year and the lack of a clear front runner are making the prediction element a difficult one but I’ll give it a go.

Watch it live at SVT Play at 20:00 CET Click Here!

Who will win?

1) Samir & Viktor “Groupie” – Predict 10th place

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This song joined the final by winning its duel against Behrang Miri in the Second Chance.  This song is still a novelty one and they have added a falling into bed scene at the end but that doesn’t change the song.  The public do like this song especially the teens and will do well in the televoting but most of the juries will shun this song.

2) JTR “Building it Up” – Predict 12th Place

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This boyband won their place by directly qualifying from the fourth semi-final and are popular with the masses of children screaming for them but the song and performance are still a bit luke warm. Without that showstopper edge and a bad draw in the running order this song will fail to finish well.  The juries will have too many songs to choose from which will make some of the entries unmemorable. I believe this will be one of them.

3) Dinah Nah “Make Me (La La La)” – Predict 9th Place

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Dinah Nah won her place by beating Dolly Style in her Andra Chansen duel. This typical Europop club hit is popular across many of the international fans of the contest but unfortunately they can’t vote.  The voting public won’t back this song as much as some of the others as Loreen has still cast a shadow on all subsequent dance hits from Sweden.  It will take awhile for this to pass and believe it is still too early for the Swedish public buy in.  The juries will like it but like isn’t good enough to place well.

4) Jon Henrik Fjällgren “Jag är Fri (Manne Leam Frijje)” I am Free – Predict 2nd Place

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Jon Henrik won his place in the third semi-final and has been one of the hot favourites.  The song hasn’t changed apart Jon Henrik’s wardrobe but it doesn’t matter the atmospheric song will do extremely well with the Swedish public having recently won Sweden’s Got Talent.  The main area of contention is the international juries, will they or won’t they go for it?  I believe it will do very well and if the juries get behind it will win.  I believe it is a two horse race at this point between John Henrik and Måns Zelmerlöw.

5) Jessica Andersson “Can’t Hurt Me Now” – Predict 8th Place

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Jessica won her place in the very first semi-final and has been forgotten mostly since then.  The song and performance haven’t changed but it is still missing that dramatic build or climatic edge.  It is a shame as the song and performance are beautiful but simply forgettable.  Ballads always do well but this year with so many songs competing for points it will leave many in the dust and unfortunately this song will fall in that category.

6) Måns Zelmerlöw “Heroes” – Predict Winner

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Måns qualified directly to the final from the fourth semi-final and is the odds on favourite to win.  The innovative performance and sheer popularity of the song will make the public pick up their phones to vote.  The juries will fall for this as well as the feast for the eyes is also met with its Guetta-like styling which stands against club based hits like “Europhia” as something entirely different. It is a refreshing performance that you won’t forget and believe he can only be beaten if the juries fall for Jon Henrik.

7) Linus Svenning “Forever Starts Today” – Predict 7th Place

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Linus beat Andreas Weise in the second chance to win his place in the final.  His performance and song are solid and a change of direction in styling to last year’s “Bröder”.  His main issue again are that there are too many songs competing for those all-important points.  The ethnic feel to the song will get the juries backing it and his sincere performance will get the public voting.

8) ISA “Don’t Stop” – Predict 5th Place

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ISA won her place in the third semi-final and gained many children followers.  Her song is mainstream pop and is very well written.  I believe she will pick up votes from the juries and she will certainly have the backing of most children out there.  The only issue she will face is that there is crossover appeal from Eric Saade’s entry which means they both could lose out on points to each other.  ISA is definitely one to watch and if she participates again she could take the crown.

9) Magnus Carlsson “Möt Mig I Gamla Stan” – Predict 11th Place

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Magnus achieved his place in the final directly from the second semi-final and his absolute Schlager hit is extremely popular with the gay audience.  This is the type of song that could of won ten years ago but time has moved on since then.  The song has lots of appeal but the juries and public will opt for his more contemporary counterparts.  This is the sort of song I love and so glad that this style is represented in the final as it means that Schlager isn’t dead just not as mainstream as it once was.

10) Eric Saade “Sting” – Predict 4th Place

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Eric qualified for his place way back in the first semi-final and showed that his “Popular” fan base hasn’t diminished.  Honestly Saade could enter and do well with almost any type of song due to his popularity.  The song is a grower and I have grown to like but for the majority of viewers and juries this will be the first time listening to it which lies part of the problem.  The stylised performance with dancing shadows, rising platforms, pyrotechnics and glitter will be hard to forget but will the voters like it enough to pick up the phone to vote, I don’t think so.  The majority of his points will come from his dedicated fan base.

11) Mariette “Don’t Stop Believing” – Predict 3rd Place

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Mariette won her place in the second semi-final with her atmospheric and mesmerising performance.  Nothing has changed here but it also didn’t need to as promotes its dark side feeling very well.  The international juries will love the song and performance.  The Swedish public who don’t care for the mainstream pop style of Måns, Eric and ISA will go for this and in a big way.  With her debut performance in Melodifestivalen, I believe Marietta will be pleased with her placing and in a less competitive year this could win.

12) Hasse Andersson “Guld och Gröna Skogar” Gold and Green Forests – Predict 6th Place

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Hasse beat Kristin Amparo in the Second Chance to win his place in the final.  His sheer likability of a happy song in the sight of Spring approaching just makes people smile.  It is very Swedish and the public love this and will go for it in a big way.  The juries will overlook this as filler because it isn’t a style of music that many countries listen to as mainstream.  All his points will come from the televote but just how many will decide on his overall placing.

Do you agree?

Melodifestivalen Second Chance 2015

 

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Tonight Sweden will chose their last 4 songs for the final next Saturday.  Helsingborg is this year’s hosts and  are getting into the spirit all of things schlager.

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Watch it tonight at SVT Play at 8:00 pm CET – Click Here!

Duel 1
1 Andreas Weise “Bring Out the Fire”
2 Linus Svenning “Forever Starts Today”
Duel 2
1 Hasse Andersson “Guld och gröna skogar” (Gold and green forests)
2 Kristin Amparo “I See You”
Duel 3
1 Dolly Style “Hello Hi”
2 Dinah Nah “Make Me (La La La)”
Duel 4
1 Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone and Malena Ernman “Det rår vi inte för” (We can’t help it)
2 Samir & Viktor “Groupie”

Duel 1 – Predict Linus Svenning

Andreas Weise reminds me of a cocky egotistical used car salesman but there are some Swedish that obviously like it.  The song is not horrendous actually but I believe that it is good enough for Eurovision or to win Melodifestivalen due to the lack of like-ability.  Linus Svenning’s song and performance feels much more genuine and the quality is much higher.  With Svenning being a finalist last year as well he is clearly in with a great chance of going through to the final.

Duel 2 – Predict Hasse Andersson

Hasse Andersson is like that old friend you have seen it a long while and comes in a springtime happy song that just makes you smile.  Even if you don’t care for danseband music, it is almost impossible not to smile at least once during his performance.  The Swedish love Andersson and the audience participation in the arena is electric.  Kristin Amparo is an Adele-like songstress and her performance is flawless.  The setting and lighting just add to this atmospheric song.  This is my favourite song of the evening and it slightly kills me to predict anyone to win against it but I believe Andersson’s popularity is win over Amparo moving performance.

Duel 3 – Predict Dinah Nah

Dolly Style is the saccharin sweet trio of wannabe children presenters performing one of those songs you can’t get out of your head.  The song is instantly catchy and will be a favourite of anyone under 12.  The battle is arguably the closest to call but it will depend on how much the parents drink this evening.  Dinah Nah is a summer-drenched club anthem with a great chorus.  What makes this song stand out is the simple special effect of shaking the camera during the all male dance performances given that earthquake effect.

Duel 4 – Predict Samir & Victor

Behrang Miri has been to the second chance round before and lost out previously to proceed to the final.  The song is a bit lost amongst the other songs this evening due to the lack of sparkle.  There has been a sneaky change here as Malena Ernman has been added as backing vocalist.  I still don’t think Ernman’s addition will change the popularity behind Samir & Victor.  Samir & Viktor are easily the most popular song of the evening.  Unfortunately, the song and vocals aren’t up to the popularity of this novelty song.  This won’t stop the Swedish kids and teens voting for the rather good looking duo.

 

 

 

Melodifestivalen 2015 Semi-Final 4 Results

On Saturday, Sweden hosted its last semi-final in Örebro.  In my opinion, it was the best show of the four.  With Måns Zelmerlöw and JTR securing places in the final on the 14th March.

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Midnight Boy – Don’t say no – Eliminated (7th Place)

A popular song writer in his own right, Midnight Boy has produced a typical 80’s gay anthem that wouldn’t be out of place in any retro discotheque.  His performance is very good only noticed one off note. Unfortunately the Swedish public didn’t agree placing it last.

Caroline Wennergren – Black swan – Eliminated (5th Place)

This is Wennergren’s second attempt in Melodifestivalen she qualified previously to the final and finished 5th overall with “A Different Kind of Love.”  I found this song a bit boring actually Wennergren’s raspy voice was the only character I noticed in the performance.

JTR – Building it up – Advances direct to the final

JTR are a Swedish boy band made up of three brothers that actually rose to fame by participating in X Factor Australia.  They finished in 7th place but have subsequently released an album that has charted in both Sweden and Australia.  I honestly didn’t think much of this song and found it to be the most boring of the evening.  The song wasn’t interesting enough and has a fairly weak hook.  I believe popularity and good looks possibly haven’t hurt their result.  I was shocked that the qualified directly for the final.

Hasse Andersson – Guld och gröna skogar (Gold and green forests) – Advances to the second chance

For 35 years, Hasse Andersson has been performing his Swedish country music achieving chart success mostly in the 80’s.  This jolly traditional country number was refreshing and sweet.  The dancers and staging just brought together the sense of spring.  Andersson’s overall performance was fairly solid for the 67 year old and with a catchy hook I easily hummed along to the melody.  It clearly won’t win any awards but still welcome to see and hear some happy, well written music.

Dinah Nah – Make me (La la la) – Advances to the second chance

This is Nah’s first Melodifestivalen entry with the simple but effective staging she has managed a ticket to the second chance.  The song isn’t as strong as Midnight Boy’s but it is repetitive and the dance sequences with the earthquake effects works very well.  Definitely another club style song, “Make Me (La la la)” lacks that super strong chorus that a club track needs.  Still an impressive first outing.

Annika Herlitz – Ett andetag (One breath) – Eliminated (6th Place)

Herlitz is a singer and voiceover actress, most famous for being Elsa in the Swedish version of Disney’s Frozen.  She has perform the Swedish version of “Let it Go”, “Slå Dig Fri” for the film and countless times to the Swedish public.  With such a powerful song, I was expecting a WOW from Herlitz which she delivered a lovely performance but wasn’t quite the diva power of “Let it Go”.  Arguably this was my favourite song of the evening.  It built well and had all of the traditional touches of a classic Swedish Schlager hit.  I think it was missing that overly dramatic big note that these songs are built on.

Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes – Advances direct to the final

This is Zelmerlöw’s third entry to Melodifestivalen, finishing 3rd with “Cara Mia” and 4th with “Hope & Glory.”  He also co-hosted the contest in 2010 which he gained lots more popularity.  This was clearly the favourite to win the semi-final and SVT often put the hot favourite to win the crown in the last place of the 4th semi-final.  Being named Sweden’s sexiest man several years in a row probably doesn’t hurt your chances either.  Honestly the song is OK, it’s growing on me.  The first 30 seconds is dreadful, sounding something like an old fashioned folk singer.  What makes this amazing is the staging and special effects of the performance.  This could well win but I still think that the Semi orphan might walk away with the victory.

Melodifestivalen 2015 Semi-Final 3 Results

On Saturday, Sweden selected another two acts to go direct to the final and two to go to the second chance round (Andra Chasen).  Östersund was on fire with arguably the best run of songs so far in the Swedish selection but it was Isa and Jon Henrik Fjällgren that advanced to the Friends Arena for the final on the 14 March 2015.

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Ellen Benediktson – Insomnia – Eliminated (5th Place)

Benediktson was a finalist in last year’s final with “Songbird” placing 7th.  This year’s entry is very different and has a new-look Benediktson performing the number.  With dramatic lighting, fairly good building beat and lots of rubber “Insomnia” should of qualified easily.  The issue is that the song builds but doesn’t really climax at any point.  It is missing that dramatic diva moment that this song needs.  With such stiff competition this song just wasn’t enough to go through.

Kalle Johansson – För din skull – Eliminated (6th Place)

This young male singer doesn’t seem old enough to carry off a number at a national selection.  Johansson seemed awkward on stage and he failed to lift what was a boring performance.  The song was ok but nothing special.  Definitely not something you would remember in five minutes time.

Andreas Weise – Bring Out the Fire – Advances to the second chance

Weise comes across as a bit of an arrogant performer who has scantly clad women all over him.  This former Pop Idol finalist, I believe lacks the charisma that this type of performance really needs.  The song is fairly mediocre but is easily hummable after the first chorus.  Saying that, I needed the recap to remember this one as well.

Andreas Johnson – Living To Die – Eliminated (7th Place)

Arguably the most disappointing song of the evening, Johnson’s sixth attempt at the Melodifestivalen crown was his weakest.  The song starts like it will build into a dramatic rock power ballad but it just falls flat.  Johnson’s performance of the song also left the audience feeling cold.  There was simply no engagement or passion from Johnson, maybe he didn’t like the song himself.

Isa – Don’t Stop – Advances direct to the final

This isn’t Isa’s first attempt at Eurovision in 2010 she tried to represent Sweden in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.  As a co-writer this bubble-gum pop entry is a instantly catchy number.  Reminiscent of early Britney or Christina Aguilera, is also a professional dancer and uses this ability to give this song a boost.  Along with her gold-winged trainers, Isa manages something that most performers dream of achieving a finalist place on her first attempt at the crown.

Kristin Amparo – I See You – Advances to the second chance

This Swedish X Factor participant has in my opinion the best song of the night.  Very much in Adele-like style, Amparo delivers the track the way it should be with real passion.  The staging and production are flawless and creates a truly atmospheric performance.  Her voice is a little shaky in places which is possibly why she doesn’t advance directly to the final but I believe she a real shot at winning a place during the second chance round.  I could easily see this song covered in Afrikaans and many other languages.

Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije) – Advances direct to the final

Grab your tissues!  This performer and song has a story and who doesn’t like a story.  Last year’s winner of Sweden’s Got Talent, Fjällgren won the hearts of Sweden by singing his traditional Joik music for the masses.  The Sami or Laplander people are known for this type of simple style chanting style music.  Adding to the fact that Fjällgren is a Columbian orphan adopted by a Sami family who was bullied as a child because of the colour of his skin is also a reindeer herder which is very typical of the Sami people.  The performance and staging of his song is enchanting and exceedingly difficult not to feel something for this number.  If you pair all this along with the message of his song “I am Free” I believe that we might not of just heard the winner to Melodifestivalen but to the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.

Melodifestivalen 2015 Semi-final 3

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Tonight the third semi-final of Sweden in Östersund, Sweden starts at 20:00 CET in on SVT Play.

Watch it here!

For today only! You can also listen to 2:30 second studio snippets here!

Which 2 songs will proceed to the final?  Which 2 songs will have a second chance and which 3 songs will be eliminated?  You decide.

  1. Ellen Benediktson Insomnia
  2. Kalle JohanssonFör din skull (For Your Sake)
  3. Andreas WeiseBring out the fire
  4. Andreas Johnson Living to die
  5. IsaDon’t stop
  6. Kristin Amparo I see you
  7. Jon Henrik FjällgrenJag är fri (Manne leam frijje) (I am Free)

 

EUROVISION – 60 YEARS CELEBRATION

Today is the official launch of the big project OGAE Rest of the world has undertaken to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision. A 3 CD set will be made and will be available in Vienna during the Eurovision period. Celebrating 60 years, so the 3 CD set will contain 60 COVERS of EUROVISION songs by artists from South Africa. Each CD will contain 20 songs. Only 60 copies will be printed and handed out in VIENNA during promotions and competitions.

Deciding on which 60 songs took a lot of effort since there were over 400 to consider and only 60 could be chosen.

I have tried to take into account several factors

– countries of the original song (trying to give each country at least one song) but it was not always possible as some like Czech republic has no cover done and others, notable Sweden and Iceland could almost fill 33% of such a project.

– SA artists – trying to use as big a variety as possible, making sure no-one is there twice as solo artist. Some do appear twice but then in duet with someone else.

– New and old songs, classics and hidden gems

– Big hits at EUROVISION but also big hits in South Africa (this does not always correlate)

After selecting the 60 songs, I also consulted with about 10 people who each could add one song and now the final 60 is there.

In the next 6 weeks, I will introduce these 60 songs ONE by ONE in the order they will appear on the compilation set.

Once all 60 songs have been unveiled, I will do a post as to how people can get a copy – keeping in mind there are just 60 copies. Because it is a promotion, the CD’s are not for sale.

I hope by the time we do the cover around beginning APRIL, we will have a logo for the club which will be on the compilation.

The original idea was to hand the first set to UDO JURGENS in VIENNA, but unfortunately that is no longer possible since his death in December.