The New Year's Concert in Vienna has been a glorious tradition for over six decades. A best-selling classical event year on year, the concert has unique global appeal. It is broadcast on TV and radio to over 50 countries, and is viewed by tens of millions of people all over the world.
Seen by millions on TV worldwide, the yearly traditional Wiener Philharmoniker’s New Year's Concert from Vienna is one of the best-known classical events in the world. The New Year's Concert, presented in the glittering Musikverein, features a charming programme that offers perennial favourites alongside some intriguing Strauss premieres. The 2011 concert is conducted by Austrian-born Franz Welser-Möst - newly installed as the music director of the Vienna State Opera and a favourite with Viennese concertgoers.
The 2018 Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert took place on January 1, 2018, under the baton of Riccardo Muti in the Musikverein in Vienna. This year's concert marked the fifth time - after 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2004 - that Riccardo Muti, whose close ties with the Vienna Philharmonic extend over several decades, conducted this prestigious event.
The 2018 New Year's Concert was broadcast in over 90 countries and followed by as many as 50 million television viewers around the world.
The discography of Strauss’s last opera is not exactly crowded, but the two existing accounts provide formidable competition for any newcomer. First there was Sawallisch, conducting the Philharmonia for EMI in 1957 (unfortunately in mono) and a cast led by Schwarzkopf, Ludwig and Fischer-Dieskau. Then, in 1971, came that other supreme Straussian, Karl Böhm, with Janowitz, Troyanos and (again) Fischer-Dieskau, recorded in Munich for DG. The new Decca set brings together many of today’s leading exponents of Strauss’s roles, dominated, for me, by the unsurpassed Clairon of Brigitte Fassbaender, now alas, never to be heard on stage again following her retirement. Heilmann and Bär make an ardent pair of rival suitors, Hagegård an admirable Count and Halem a sonorous, characterful La Roche. (There is a delightful link with the past history of the opera in the person of Hans Hotter: he sang Olivier in the 1942 premiere, La Roche in the 1957 Sawallisch set, and here, at 84 when recorded in December 1993, a one-line cameo as a servant.) For many, though, the set’s desirability will rest on Te Kanawa’s Countess.