Vienna New Year’s concert to air live

Vienna New Year’s concert to air live

VIENNA - Agence France-Presse
Vienna New Year’s concert to air live

Austrian conductor Franz Welser- Most performs during the rehearsal of the New Year’s Concert 2013. EPA photo

Wagner, Verdi and a myriad of waltzes will broadcast live to 81 countries when the Vienna Philharmonic kicks off 2013 with its traditional New Year’s Concert today. The event, sold out over a year in advance and followed by millions around the world, will once again be conducted by Franz Welser-Moest, musical director at the Vienna Opera, after his first appearance in 2011.

Together with the orchestra, Welser-Moest has devised a program full of novelties: 11 of the 16 pieces performed at the Musikverein’s grand Golden Hall today will be playing at the New Year’s Concert for the first time.

Among them are tributes to German composer Richard Wagner and Italian Giuseppe Verdi, both of whom will be celebrated on their 200th birthday next year. Wagner’s dramatic Prelude to Act Three of “Lohengrin” and ballet music from Verdi’s opera “Don Carlo” will however alternate with the Strauss dynasty polkas and waltzes that are most associated with this classical event. “It should be a voyage of discovery,” Welser-Moest told AFP ahead of the concert, describing it as “a very subtle program,” with a heavy accent on the less frequently played Josef Strauss.

A tradition going back to 1939, the concert draws crowds of tourists every year, clapping gaily in time with the “Radetzky March,” a beloved and unavoidable encore, alongside the melancholic “Blue
Danube Waltz.”