Legendary actress Julie Andrews will host the the Vienna Philharmonic’s traditional Vienna New Year’s concert program to be broadcast on January 1 on PBS in the US. The Vienna Philharmonic showcases Viennese musical culture at the highest level, and since the first television broadcast in 1959, has sent the world a New Year’s greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship and peace.
The opportunity of Andrews celebrating New Years in Vienna has become a most pleasurable tradition. “I’m so delighted to return to Vienna at this magical time of year. This enchanting city never ceases to take my breath away with its fairytale beauty and grace and history. The Strauss waltzes provide a most delectable soundtrack to the visual delights that surround me there.”
Needless to say, Andrews is best-known for her role in “The Sound of Music”, set in the region during World War II.
Vienna New Year’s Concert: the programme
Music of Spheres, Waltz, op. 235
Prelude to Act III of “Lohengrin”
In Confidence, Polka mazur, op.15
Hesperus’ Paths, Waltz, op. 279
Runners Quick Polka, op.237
Styrian Dances op. 165
Where the Lemon Trees Bloom, Waltz, op. 364
Johann Strauss Sr.
Memories of Ernst or The Carnival of Venice, Fantasy, op. 126
Chatterbox, Quick Polka, op. 245
The Blue Danube Waltz, op. 314
Johann Strauss Sr.
Radetzky March, op. 228
As is customary with the Vienna New Year’s Concert, Ms. Andrews will travel from her base in the Musikverein hall itself to visit multiple Vienna landmarks: a typical Syrian inn (telling of the rural traditions of the heartland of Austria); The State Hall, the magnificent 18th century central rotunda of the old imperial library, now known as the National Library; and Prince Eugene’s beautiful Baroque rural palace, Schloss Hof.
She also interviews Maestro Welser-Most on the celebrations for the milestone anniversaries of two musical giants of the 19th century – Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) – and the pieces chosen to honor them during the evening. Johann Strauss was a champion of both, and actually played their music before it was heard in the opera house.
Since September 1st 2010, Franz Welser-Most has been the Musical Director of the Vienna State Opera having made his debut at the opera house in 1987.
Franz Welser-Most has been music director at The Cleveland Orchestra since 2002. His contract will take him up to the orchestra’s centenary in 2018. Franz Welser-Most and the orchestra work closely together with Carnegie Hall in New York, the Musikverein in Vienna and the Lucerne Festival.
Between 1995 and 2002 Franz Welser-Most was the chief conductor at the Zurich Opera House, becoming the general music director in 2008. It was here where he conducted more than 40 premieres, many of which have been released on DVD.
He regularly appears as a guest conductor for the Berlin Philharmonic, Bayerischen Rundfunk’s Symphony Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and has also conducted the most prominent orchestras in the USA. Franz Welser-Most has close ties with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra having led the Summer Night’s Concert in 2010 (broadcast on Great Performances).
The Vienna State Ballet is the new name for the Vienna State Opera Ballet and since the name change on September 1st, the company has been directed by Manuel Legris. It provides the ensembles at both the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Volksoper.
For the first time a British choreographer, Ashley Page, has assumed that role at the New Year’s celebration. Page, who was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London, has been the Scottish Ballet’s artistic director for the last ten years.
On January 4th, Sony Classical will release the live recording exclusively through Arkiv Music and via Amazon.com’s CreateSpace’s Disc on Demand service as well download through all major digital service providers, followed by a nationwide CD release on January 22nd, and DVD and Blu-ray on February 5th.