I’m in Vienna. That’s to listen to the New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which I won in March this year.
Win the official website lottery
The New Year’s Concert, one of the most famous New Year’s events in the world, is held on January 1, but there are also concerts on December 30 and New Year’s Eve (December 31) with the exact same program as on January 1. The concert on December 30 is called the Preview Performance, the concert on December 31 is called the Jilbester Concert, and the concert on January 1 is called the New Year’s Concert.
This concert is one of the most popular events in the world for classical music fans, and it is extremely difficult to get tickets. It is possible to get tickets through tours, but the premium is so high that the price is usually over one million yen, even though airfare and hotel are included.
On the other hand, if you want to get it officially and independently from the official website of the Vienna Philharmonic, you have to win a lottery against the whole world.
I applied for about 8 years in a row and finally got a ticket for the preview performance this year. I guess I’ve used up a lifetime of luck!
Pick up your tickets the day before at the Vienna Philharmonic ticket booth
I flew to Vienna by Aeroflot via Moscow. The air travel was very smooth. It was not as cold as I thought it would be in Vienna. I think it was about as cold as January in Tokyo.
I arrived on the night of the 28th. The next day, I took the City Airport Express (CAT) to Mitte Station, which is one of the entrances to the city of Vienna, and stayed at an apartment (arranged by AirBnB) in the city from December 29th. But there was no coin locker, so I took the S-Bahn to the next station, Praterstern.
I left my luggage in a coin locker in the station and took the U-Bahn to Karlsplatz where the Opera and Musikverein are located. First of all, I came to pick up the ticket for the preview performance.
I was supported by email to pick up the ticket at the office near Musikverein. I presented the invoice email I had received on my phone at the office and they immediately handed me my ticket. Now we can definitely go tomorrow!
Afterwards, we went to Musikverein to have a preliminary look. What an atmosphere we’ll have tomorrow!
Preview Performance Day!
On the 30th, the day of the concert finally arrived. The preview performance was the first time in the world that the program of the New Year’s Concert was open to the public.
We got dressed up and left the apartment on foot. The apartment is located in the Rink, just a few minutes walk from the Musikverein. We left the apartment at around 10:10am. I arrived there around 15 minutes later. The weather was cloudy, but we could see blue sky occasionally. And I was relieved because it was not as cold as I thought.
It was still 40 minutes before the show started, but there were already a lot of people in the hall, and everyone was busy talking and taking pictures.
Let’s go inside. Leave your coat etc. in the cloakroom. It was my first time to use the Musikverein cloakroom. It was the first time for me to use the cloakroom.
And inside. This hall is the most famous in the world! And there are already so many visitors here! And everyone taking pictures!
By the way, one of the internet information said that the flowers in the venue were not decorated yet at the preview performance, but that was not the case. I was relieved.
Our seats were in the fifth row from the front, on the left side. We can’t see the wind instruments, but we have a perfect view of the first violins, second violins, and this year’s conductor, Riccardo Muti!
You can buy the program from the seller inside for 9.5 euros. Of course I bought it because it was a memorial.
By the way, the program on the official website of the Vienna Philharmonic is here.
Preview performance is about to begin!
Then it was 11 o’clock. Some of the troupe members were already on stage, but just at 11:00, all the string players came on stage at once.
And tuning. But it is finished in an instant. Finally, Muti’s appearance. I love the combination of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Muti from old times, especially the album of the symphony of Mozart, and listened to it well when I was a student.
The concert will proceed in the same way as New Year’s Day, January 1. First, the first half. A well-balanced combination of polkas and waltzes. The Marienwaltz by Johann Strauss’ father and the Polka « Heartwarming » by Johann Strauss’ son were very good. In the Marienwaltz, the richness of the first violin’s technique was very impressive.
The second half. In terms of balance, the first half was easier to listen to, but both the polka and the waltz were wonderful. I was impressed. The first piece, the overture by Suppe, was wonderful.
Muti’s conducting was dynamic throughout, and the atmosphere was clearly expressed in the music, which still came close to the Vienna Philharmonic’s unique soft and beautiful tone, making me realize once again how well this orchestra and conductor work together.
Only preview performance?
By the way, this preview performance was the first concert of this program, and I didn’t know if it was because of that, but it seemed that Muti made one or two mistakes in the timing of his return to the backstage.
In a normal concert, they go backstage once between songs, but in the case of the New Year’s Concert, they play several songs in a row because they play many short songs. But in the case of the New Year’s Concert, they play several songs in a row because they play a lot of short songs. Because of this, it seemed to be decided beforehand which songs should be paused between.
Of course, it didn’t affect the concert itself at all as it didn’t have any significant impact.
There was a standard encore.
Of course there was an encore. Of course they played the classic Donau and Radecky, but actually they played one more song before that. But I’ll keep it to myself.
Before the start of the Danube, there was the traditional New Year’s greeting from all the members of the group! It’s not the new year yet, though lol.
The Radecky March at the end was performed together with the whole audience clapping. This is also a standard among standards. However, the way of applause is very different depending on the conductor. Muti was looking towards the audience and indicating from beginning to end. It was very enjoyable.
And the end of the day. The time was before 14:00. I realized that it was a long concert of more than 3 hours, but it was a dream time.
It was very beautiful. It may be a luxury, but I want to hear it again! I made up my mind to continue applying for the lottery again next year and beyond.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve will be celebrated here in Vienna. On the 1st, we will go to Prague to listen to the Czech Philharmonic New Year’s Concert.