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Smoke and Mirrors

September 16, 2018

Aurora Orchestra Heath Event

Costumes by Katharine Heath
Music by Aurora Orchestra


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

Marcus Farnsworth chansonnier
Nicholas Collon conductor

Smoke and Mirrors
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.

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 haunt the world’s collective imagination to the present day. By turns virtuosic, zany, hilarious and spellbindingly beautiful, HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!! offers an utterly unique perspective on this great literary icon, with chansonnier Marcus Farnsworth leading us through an unsettling collection of surreal and bloodcurdling bedtime stories.

The shadow cast by Beethoven’s fifth is every bit as profound and far-reaching as that of Shelley’s monster: “Splendid beyond measure… this work evokes terror, fright, horror and pain, and awakens endless longing,” wrote Hoffman in his much-quoted review of an early performance. As the powerful mythology around Beethoven took hold in the decades following his death, it was this symphony, above all others, that epitomised the unattainable power of his music. Hear this epoch-making work afresh as we perform it entirely from memory.

Aurora is many things.
A virtuosic chamber orchestra, built of extraordinary musicians, giving electrifying performances at the very highest international standard.
A pioneering creative community with a boundless appetite for adventure, the broadest of artistic horizons, and a playful approach to presentation.

“Aurora is the most bracing breath of fresh air to invigorate the British classical music scene in the past ten years.” (Richard Morrison, The Times)

A producer of intimate, hand-crafted works of ‘Orchestral Theatre’, sparking vibrant dialogue between music and other art forms.
Above all, Aurora is about bringing the richest musical experiences to the broadest possible audience.  We’re constantly searching for new ways to heighten engagement with music and help audiences get under the skin of great works: whether by performing whole symphonies from memory, collaborating with dancers or circus performers, commissioning film, combining chamber music with story-telling for children, or simply presenting viscerally powerful chamber orchestra performances in intimate settings.

The common thread which links all of this work is simple: great music, brilliantly performed. 


Queen Elizabeth Hall
South Bank Centre
London, SE1 8XX United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7960 4200

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