Live transmission of Strauss, Beethoven and Klimt makes for a concert technology first.

For the first time ever, a concert by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has been projected live onto the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House. The Viennese night, presented in conjunction with the Vienna Tourist Board, included stunning visuals of the Austrian capital itself, along with its artistic and cultural landmarks.

The sold out concert was seen by thousands on the Sydney harbour foreshore as well as being live web-streamed around the globe. With the threatened rain holding off, a full moon allowed for a perfect, atmospheric evening. Among a string of ‘firsts’, the SSO became the first professional orchestral ensemble to feature in live real-time video projections on the SOH sails.

Speaking before the event, Astrid Mulholland-Licht, the Director of Sydney’s Austrian National Tourist Office and a key instigator of the project, admitted to her enthusiasm for the Viennese Secessionists – among them Gustav Klimt – who were united by a shared desire to integrate art into all aspects of life. Viewing all forms of art and craft as having equal status, Mulholland-Licht likened Visions of Vienna to their Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) philosophy in its encompassing of architecture, music and visual art.

“In Vienna, we are very aware of our enormous musical heritage and constantly develop new forms of presenting and celebrating it,” said Vienna Tourist Board Managing Director Norbert Kettner. “With this world premiere of Visions of Vienna, we managed to find a completely new and highly innovative way of doing so.”

Channeling the famous New Year’s concerts, Greatest Hits from Vienna was conducted by Vienna-based conductor Ola Rudner and featured Viennese soprano Elisabeth Flechl, a regular star of the Volksoper, as an authentic and engaging soloist in a program of operetta and musical favourites by composers such as Johann Strauss Jr., Lehár, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven.

Accompanying the projections of the orchestra were images by Award-winning design agency Ample Projects, which created the Urban Tree Project for Vivid 2014. Inspired by the secessionist art of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, shots of Beethoven, the Schönbrunn Palace and other Viennese landmarks interspersed with a winning montage of real-time turning pages from Johann Strauss’s original score of The Blue Danube.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Rory Jeffes described the projections as “awe-inspiring” and was clearly delighted to have found a new way to present the SSO to the wider world. “It was just extraordinary to see the towering figures of our players on the sails of Sydney Opera House as they played inside the Concert Hall,” he said. “This project was a true cross-city cultural collaboration, celebrating Vienna’s contribution to our art-form”.

Watch the entire Visions of Vienna concert on YouTube

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