From Vienna, with love

16 December 2022
A man in a black jacket plays violin.

Following on from 100 years of tradition, the format of a new year Viennese concert is untouchable. WNO Orchestra’s sparklingly satisfying New Year’s concert returns in January 2023 and explores the rich landscape of Viennese music, mixing lesser familiar masterpieces with the old favourites. We caught up with Leader and Concertmaster David Adams to find out more about this life affirming celebration of music.

‘There’s a long tradition of kicking off the new year with a concert of waltzes and polkas. With such uplifting and spellbinding music, it creates a fantastic feel-good factor. Yes, you can watch it on the television, but there is nothing like experiencing it live. Add in the thrill of hearing the orchestra in its purest form and you’re in for a completely exhilarating experience.

Personally, I adore the waltzes, there is such originality and beauty in the music I find them hard to resist. We were keen to include Strauss II’s Seid umschlungen Millionen! or Be Embraced, You Millions! in this year’s programme. A waltz with ravishingly beautiful melodies which acts as a musical hug. With the physical embrace being taken from us for so long, we really wanted to include it as it’s the closest we could get to embracing our audiences with our sound and music. We also wanted to make the audience laugh and the wit and charm of the polkas should make you laugh out loud. 

Some of this music is incredibly familiar. The Blue Danube was famously used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Radetzky March is instantly recognisable, but even the style and sound of the less familiar music leaves you feeling like you already know it. The name Korngold isn’t always associated with a new year’s concert, however this native of Vienna was an outrageous prodigy before making his name through his film scores most famously by Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood. Here he pays homage to Strauss in this wonderful piece Straussiana which captures all the elegance, wit, and charm of Strauss, but through the glamorous lens of 1920’s Hollywood. 

Every venue on this tour holds something special for us whether visiting our sister cities of South Wales in St David’s, Swansea, the beauty of the North and Mid Wales countryside on our trips to Bangor and Newtown, the familiarity of returning to one of our wonderful main scale touring cities in Southampton, exploring the stunning landscapes of Southwest England in Truro and Barnstaple or playing in our home city in the fantastic concert hall at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. We love making new friends on this tour and every audience brings something special.’

WNO Orchestra’s Return to Vienna tour will be visiting Swansea, Bangor, Newtown, Truro, Barnstaple, Cardiff, Southampton and St Davids between 5 – 21 January 2023.