The New Year’s Day Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was broadcast around the world
People in cities in Europe and indeed all around the world will have celebrated the arrival of 2018 in a number of ways such as with the spectacular firework displays held in London and Edinburgh. The Viennese also enjoy a few festive fireworks, but they are particularly well known for their New Year’s Day Concert, held in the beautiful golden hall of the Musikverein in the centre of Vienna.
The first New Year’s Concert had rather dark overtones as it was performed on 31st December 1939 and was donated entirely to the national-socialistic fund-raising campaign. The concert was dedicated to compositions by the Strauss dynasty. Since the war the concerts have continued to grow in popularity and tickets for the three concerts held at the end of the year and on New Year’s Day are drawn by ballot. People enter for the ballot online and many travel from all over the world to be in Vienna at New Year. The concert programme consists primarily of the lively and yet nostalgic polkas, marches and waltzes composed by members of the Strauss family and its contemporaries. This concert is now broadcast to over 90 countries around the world.
Watching the concert on television in the UK, we also saw members of the Vienna State Ballet perform at various landmarks in Vienna which had been designed by the Austrian modernist and art nouveau architect Otto Wagner, to mark the centenary of his death. We were treated to wonderful views of the Schloss Belvedere, the Stadtbahn Pavilion on Karlsplatz and the Court Pavilion at Hietzing Station.
Viewers also enjoyed superb aerial views of the beautiful Vienna Woods and of Melk Abbey perched on its rocky outcrop overlooking the River Danube. The Wachau valley is renowned for its rolling hills and vineyards and the area boasts a number of historic fortresses including the castle above the town of Dürnstein where Richard the Lionheart was once imprisoned. Cities Direct’s Vienna Experience holiday includes a full day small group tour to this very scenic part of Austria and features a wine tasting and a cruise along the Danube from Spitz to Melk.
Vienna is certainly a very special city at New Year but also has such a lot to offer at any time of year.