Image: La Fenice concert hall in Venice
In Italy, New Years Eve marks the feast of San Silvestro. After a family meal, people ring in the new year with parties and fireworks at midnight.
After a late night of revelry, New Years Day marks time for another classic tradition - the Concerti di capodanno. Concerti di capodanno are New Years Day concerts. The original, and most famous, concert has been performed every January 1st since 1939 by the Vienna Philharmonic. The concert features the music of the Strauss family, including renditions of Blue Danube and Radetzky March.
The New Years Day concert is one of the most popular musical events in the world and it is estimated that over 1 billion tune in to watch from all over the globe. The concert is broadcast in the morning of January 1st to television sets all over the world.
Italian families are part of that worldwide viewership, gathering together watch the concerti di capodanno before settling in for another traditional feast. But since 2004, Italians have been seeing the Vienna concert in differita, or delayed. The live version of Vienna's traditional performance is recorded and later broadcast to Italy in the afternoon.
Italian viewers now tune in the morning of New Years Day for a musical experience from Venice rather than Vienna. The change is due to an Italian station’s decision to celebrate a similar program from Venice's celebrated La Fenice opera house.
A terrible act of arson in 1996 closed the famous Venetian theater for years. When the theater re-opened in 2004, it was renamed “La Fenice,” or The Phoenix. Starting that year, the Italian broadcast network RAI 1 began to show the Venice performance live in the morning, rather than the Vienna concert.
The change of venue and performers has both critics and supporters. Some claim that the switch is provincial, while others feel patriotic towards the Italian version of the musical performance.
Vienna and Venice are not the only two options when it comes to concerti di capodanno. Many families prefer to spend the day attending one of the live concerti that are performed at theaters throughout Italy.
In addition to La Fenice in Venice, other Italian performances will take place at La Scala in Milan, Parco della Musica in Rome, Teatro San Carlo in Naples and Teatro Massimo in Palermo.