Itself something of a new creation, Aurora retraces in sound and vision some of the myths of creation in its multimedia event Playing With Fire. Frankenstein’s monster is everyone's idea of what goes wrong when man tries to create human life out of spare parts, but Mary Shelley was not the first to imagine the catastrophe born out of an idealistic dream.
Opening with Beethoven’s ballet music The Creatures of Prometheus, Aurora Orchestra's Playing With Fire concert combines film and lighting effects while still putting the live music centre stage. Beethoven’s colourful dances are inspired by the legend that the immortal Prometheus made a man out of clay, and stole fire to enliven him. This so enraged Zeus, the king of the gods, that he ordered Prometheus be eaten alive – for ever – and created the inquisitive Pandora, who opened up up a pot containing all the troubles of the world.
The Creatures of Prometheus is followed by the Austrian composer HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!!, described as a “pan-demonium” and based on Shelley’s novel, which is scored by voice - here Marcus Farnsworth - and orchestra.
Aurora’s creative producerJane Mitchell says "These stories ask us to consider what it means to create something, and what consequences might be faced when creations are brought to life.
"We have taken a playful look at these questions, drawing parallels not only between the two stories but also with the astonishing act of creating music and bringing it to life. In Beethoven's ballet, Prometheus carves statues of a man and a woman and brings them to life, only to face eternal torment for his actions; in Gruber’s devilish take on H C Artmann’s poems, we flick through the Doctor’s sketchbook, perhaps imagining what other monsters Frankenstein may have created that have sent him mad.”
The concert closes with another nail-biter: Aurora, under Nicholas Collon, plays Beethoven’s powerful Symphony No 5 from memory. Says Jane Mitchell: "In Beethoven’s fifth symphony, we unleash one of humanity’s most potent and uplifting creations. Prometheus and the Doctor loom large over these proceedings, reminding us that our ability to create powerful things can bring both beautiful and terrifying consequences."
|What||Aurora Orchestra, Playing With Fire, Southbank Centre|
|Where||Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
On 29 May 16, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
|Price||£15 - £20|
|Website||Click here to book via Southbank Centre|