The sound of music will be especially meaningful to Julie Andrews in 2015.
The much-beloved Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner will start the new year as she typically has in recent times, serving for the sixth time as host of PBS’ annual “Great Performances” telecast of “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2015” at 9 p.m. Thursday on PBS.
As Andrews introduces segments from throughout Austria’s capital, Zubin Mehta will be the Vienna Philharmonic’s fifth-time holiday conductor in a traditional program of Strauss works at the Musikverein. Also featured will be the Vienna State Ballet, performing a polka and a waltz at the city’s Ringstrasse.
“I’ve never personally met Maestro Mehta,” Andrews said, “but this time, I hope I do! I certainly will be watching him conduct the music. I do love what he does, and he’s very charismatic, too.” Mehta is the former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, whose board of directors includes Andrews.
The New Year’s show will keep Andrews on the move, starting with a trip up the Danube River, and she acknowledges she has “quite a number of locations to get to. I learn a lot doing these wonderful shows, I really do. It’s always a revelation how much there is to see, all the homes and palaces, and it’s just glorious there anyway. One of my locations will be looking out over the town hall, which will be completely lit.”
The new year also will mark a major anniversary – the 50th – for one of Andrews’ most enduring movies, “The Sound of Music.” She also was back in Austria recently with Christopher Plummer, who played Captain von Trapp to her Maria, to record new material for a forthcoming home-video rerelease of the film.
Andrews spent a good part of 2014 honoring the 50th anniversary of another of her screen classics, the Disney-produced “Mary Poppins,” but she believes that “wasn’t as big as I think ‘The Sound of Music’ is going to be. We’ve added another 40 minutes to an hour to the documentary on the making of it, and we went a lot of places for it, which was amazing. The ‘kids’ were not there; they’re doing separate things, but we’re all getting together at some point.”
And now, Andrews notes, “I’m turning around and going back to Vienna. And I’m not unhappy about any of it.”