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Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

HK Gruber Frankenstein!!
Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor (from memory)

Marcus Farnsworth chansonnier
Nicholas Collon conductor

Awaken the spirits of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in a theatrical concert of ghost stories and orchestral music. In our next Orchestral Theatre production, we explore these two evocative 19th-century masterpieces that continue to haunt us today.

‘Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated?’ – Mary Shelley

The first half of the production transports us to 1816, the so-called ‘year without a summer’, in which Shelley conjured the monster that would take hold of the world’s collective imagination. HK Gruber’s zany, hilarious, and mesmerising Frankenstein!! gives a unique perspective on this great literary icon, leading us through an unsettling collection of surreal stories with a range of curious instruments, from swanee whistles to paper bags to a toy merry-go-round.

‘This work evokes terror, fright, horror and pain, and awakens endless longing’ – E.T.A. Hoffman, review of Beethoven’s Fifth

Opening with perhaps the most recognisable four notes in classical music (interpreted by some as fate knocking on the door), Beethoven’s mighty Fifth Symphony stirred extreme emotions in audiences during its day, with accounts of listeners shouting and trembling in their seats. As the myth around Beethoven grew following his death, it was this symphony, above all others, that represented the supernatural power of his music. We perform this epoch-making work afresh entirely from memory, and invite you to come and experience why it’s still groundbreaking, expressive, and relevant 200 years later.

This production involves haze, lighting, blackouts, and loud sound effects, and is appropriate for children aged 8 and above.


Part of The Orchestral Theatre: The Claus Moser Series at Southbank Centre

Aurora Orchestra gratefully acknowledges generous support for The Orchestral Theatre: The Claus Moser Series at Southbank Centre by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Cockayne Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, the Hargreaves & Ball Trust, Nicholas & Margo Snowman and the Aurora Patrons and Friends.