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Saturday, 23 June 2018

In Photos: Vienna Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti waltz the world into 2018

AFP , Tuesday 2 Jan 2018
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Austria, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 (Photo: AP)
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The Vienna Philharmonic did its best to give a troubled world a soothing start to 2018 on Monday with its traditional New Year's Concert, broadcast live in over 90 countries.

The annual extravaganza, heavy on light-hearted waltzes by the Strauss dynasty harking back to Vienna's 19th-century golden era, is watched by some 50 million people, the Philharmonic said.

His greying hair flopping in time to the music, the conductor this year was Italian maestro Riccardo Muti, waving the baton in the hallowed Golden Hall of the Musikverein for the fifth time since 1993.

The 76-year-old has conducted some of the world's most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de France.

Alongside Strauss favourites like "The Blue Danube", the 2018 programme also featured the Overture to "Boccaccio" by Franz von Suppe and Alphons Czibulka's "Stephanie Gavotte".

In the audience was Sebastian Kurz, since mid-December Austria's chancellor and the world's youngest leader at 31, accompanied at the Musikverein by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Other guests included the presidents of Estonia and Bulgaria. Bulgaria took over the rotating EU presidency from Estonia on January 1 and will hand it to Austria mid-year.

Kurz's conservatives formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) last month, giving it the interior, defence and foreign ministries as well as the vice-chancellorship.

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Italian conductor Riccardo Muti, center, conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Austria, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 (Photo: AP)

Riccardo Muti
Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti, second right, conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Austria, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 (Photo: AP)

Riccardo Muti
Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti, left, conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during a rehearsal for the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (Photo: AP)

Vienna
Overview of a rehearsal of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the traditional New Year's concert conducted by Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 (Photo: AP)

Riccardo Muti
Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti, center, laughs as he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during a rehearsal for the traditional New Year's concert at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 (Photo: AP)

Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, center from left, applaud during the traditional New Year's concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti at the golden hall of Vienna's Musikverein, Austria, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 (Photo: AP)

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