The Downton Abbey star told fans it’s “out with the stress and in with the Strauss”, but filmed his contribution to the concert from Goodwood House in England due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The pandemic also means the concert will be dramatically different from previous years, with no live audience for the first time in its history.
Explaining why they’d decided to go ahead with the show despite the pandemic, conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti said: “We cannot abolish music, even in a pandemic. We need to have hope.”
He mused: “Without music the day would be like a grave, would be the worst sign, a negative sign, for the entire world.”
In order to maintain audience involvement in the show, organisers have encouraged fans to send in video clips of themselves applauding, which will be played after performances during the concert.
The New Year’s Day show will be broadcast and live-streamed in more than 90 countries around the world. To find out where you can watch it from where you are, visit: https://happyend.wien.info/en-gb/newyearsconcert.
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