Tuesday, 17 July 2018


©Katharina Schiffl
It's a likeness that would have made the notoriously image-conscious conductor proud.

The famous Austrian Icon was memorialized this evening with an unveiling at Vienna's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, exactly 1 day and 29 years after his death of a heart attack in July, 1989.

The life-like statue is the museum's 89th acquisition, and was produced in London, in conjunction with the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute a team of twenty, costing some €200,000. Fine attention was paid to detail: the process of installing hair onto the head of the figure alone took six months to complete, with each strand being individually inserted into the wax.

The former Principal Conductor for life of the Berlin Philharmonic was an institute unto himself whilst alive: a titan of industry, Karajan infamously produced highly manicured video and audio recordings (the videos often focusing more on glamorizing the image of the conductor than the orchestra - the maestro's wish). He is believed to have sold an excess of 300 million records whilst still alive - this, in an age of waning support for the arts. He was a prolific performer, conducting over 3,300 concerts globally, and is remembered fondly as one of the greatest to have ever held a baton.

While the wax likeness is sure to ruffle some feathers, one cannot deny the air brushed façade as being a classic Karajan-ism.

Speaking to with reporters, Henry Ladewig of the Karajan Institute remarked upon the Karajan’s induction into the museum: “Herbert von Karajan would have been very proud and grateful to be immortalized here.”

Surely, the maestro would have approved.

Listen below to one of Karajan's most memorable performances, from the 1987 Vienna New Year's Eve Concert, Kathleen Battle performs Johann Strauss' Frühlingsstimmen:

- Rose.

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