Events in Vienna
Vienna is jam packed with exciting festivals and events all year round. This list of annual events in Vienna could be a useful guide to you when determining the time to visit the city.
January - February
New Year's Eve/New Year's Day
The famed concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra launches Vienna's biggest night. The New Year also marks the beginning of Fasching, the famous Vienna Carnival season, which lasts through Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras). The Imperial Ball in the Hofburg follows the concert.
December 31/January 1.
Eistraum (Dream on Ice)
During the coldest months of the Austrian winter, the monumental plaza between the Town Hall and the Burgtheater is flooded and frozen. Lights, loudspeakers, and a stage are hauled in, and the entire civic core is transformed into a gigantic ice-skating rink. Sedate waltz tunes accompany the skaters during the day, and DJs spin rock, funk, and reggae after the sun goes down. Around the rink, dozens of kiosks sell everything from hot chocolate and snacks to wine and beer.
Last week of January to mid-March.
Vienna's high society gathers at the Staatsoper for the grandest ball of the Carnival season. The evening opens with a performance by the Opera House Ballet. You don't need an invitation, but you do need to buy a ticket, which, as you might guess, isn't cheap.
On the last Thursday of the Fasching
Vienna Spring Festival
The festival has a different central theme every year, but you can always count on music by the world's greatest composers, including Mozart and Brahms, at the Konzerthaus.
Mid-March through the first week of May
May - June
International Music Festival
This traditional highlight of Vienna's concert calendar features top-class international orchestras, distinguished conductors, and classical greats. You can hear Beethoven's Eroica in its purest form, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, and perhaps Bruckner's Romantic. The list of conductors and orchestras reads like a "who's who" of the international world of music.
Early May through late June
An exciting array of operas, operettas, musicals, theater, and dances, this festival presents new productions of classics alongside avant-garde premieres, all staged by international leading directors. Celebrated productions from renowned European theaters offer guest performances. Expect such productions as Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Monteverdi's Orfeo, and Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne.
Second week of May until mid-June
Vienna Jazz Festival
This is one of the world's top jazz events, based at the Vienna State Opera. The program features more than 50 international and local stars.
Late June to early July
Vienna Blues Spring
Vienna Blues Spring - at six weeks, the world's longest Blues festival - offers exciting times for Blues fans, with groups of musicians from around the world. The festival kicks off with an Open House Blues Session offering a taste of the festival programme at Reigen club, the main Blues Spring venue.
July - August
Music Film Festival
Opera, operetta, and masterly concert performances captured on celluloid play free under a starry sky in front of the neo-Gothic City Hall on the Ringstrasse. Programs focus on works by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, or other composers. You might view Rudolf Nureyev in Swan Lake or see Leonard Bernstein wielding the baton for Brahms.
Mid-July to mid-September
October - December
Celebrating its 22nd year in 2009, the Wien Modern was founded by Claudio Abbado and is devoted to the performance of contemporary music. You might catch works from Iceland, Romania, or Portugal, in addition to Austria. Performances are at Verein Wien Modern, Lothringerstrasse 20.
Late October through late November
Between late November and New Year's, look for pockets of folk charm (and, in some cases, kitsch) associated with the Christmas holidays. Small outdoor booths known as Christkindlmarkts -- usually adorned with evergreen boughs, red ribbons, and, in some cases, religious symbols -- sprout up in clusters around the city. They sell old-fashioned toys, tannenbaum (tree) decorations, and gift items. Food vendors offer sausages, cookies and pastries, roasted chestnuts, and kartoffel (charcoal-roasted potato slices).
The greatest concentration of open-air markets is in front of the Rathaus
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world, including Vienna.
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