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Washingtonians like seeing stuff for free. It’s practically a birthright—a concession for voter disenfranchisement being first dibs on the nation’s best in taxpayer-subsidized fine arts. One such colonial privilege is the National Gallery’s free classical concert series and, in particular, its in-house orchestra’s New Year’s show, an annual event going back half a century. With its New Year’s concert, the National Gallery Orchestra “tries to be true to the Viennese tradition,” says director Bruno Nasta. What tradition is that? Well, every New Year’s Eve in Vienna (no, not the one in Virginia), people would go out and listen to the latest operettas, waltzes, and polkas by their favorite local composers. You, too, can don your breeches and periwig and enjoy an evening of Johann Strauss (I and II) and Franz Lehar in the museum’s garden court. Manfred Knoop conducts, and Eva Lind sings Lehar’s “Vilja Song” and Strauss Jr.’s Wiener Blut operettas.
THE CONCERT BEGINS ON SUNDAY AT 6:30 P.M. AT the NATIONAL GALLERY’s WEST BUILDING, WEST GARDEN COURT ON THE MAIN FLOOR, 5th st. AND CONSTITUTION AVE. NW. FREE; SEATING ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVE BASIS. (202) 842-6941.