Celebrating Beethoven's 250th B-day In Vienna With AR

Celebrating Beethoven's 250th B-day In Vienna With AR
December 24, 2019
“Dance of the Elves,” after Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (known as the “Pastoral”), 1st movement, by the painter Josef Maria Auchentaller.Credit...AMP, Andreas Maleta Press & Publication, Vienna


The Austrian capital is ready to honor the composer throughout 2020 with performances, special exhibitions and even augmented reality.


Beethoven’s trail is around every corner in Vienna.


Citywide celebrations next year include “Fidelio” in all three versions: The State Opera will present a new staging of the original score (“Leonore”) by the director Amélie Niermeyer (Feb. 1-14) and revive its classic Otto Schenk production in the final 1814 edition (April 22 to May 2). The Theater an der Wien has invited the Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz to have his hand at directing the second version of the opera (March 16-27).


Members of the Philharmonic appear in a Beethoven-only chamber music series in the Mahler Hall of the State Opera (through June 13) and bring their symphony cycle under Andris Nelsons to a close with concerts at the Musikverein (May 23 to June 7). The Wiener Symphoniker, which mostly performs at the Wiener Konzerthaus, includes no fewer than 36 concerts with music by Beethoven this season and has contributed recordings to the interactive audio play “Beethoven’s Vienna,” designed for at-home use via Alexa Skills and Google Action.

With help from an app and special sunglasses, tourists in Vienna and New York can go on an augmented-reality pilgrimage to Beethoven-related sites.Credit...Rainer Fehringer/WienTourismus


The iOS app #RelatedToAustria is offering an augmented-reality tour powered by Bose Frames (sunglasses equipped with built-in surround-sound audio), which are available on loan from the Tourist Info stand on Vienna’s Albertinaplatz. The pilgrimage includes the State Opera, Musikverein and Palais Lobkowitz — where Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony was first performed, — as well as the Theater an der Wien. (The app is also activated by geodata for six New York locations, including Carnegie Hall and the Café Sabarsky, a Viennese-style coffeehouse at the Neue Galerie.)


At the Austrian National Library, the exhibition “Menschenwelt und Götterfunken” (The World of Man and Sparks of the Gods) also reveals the composer’s complicated relationships with women, patrons, musicians and his nephew — to whom he served for a time as a legal guardian — through original letters, drawings and manuscripts. Visitors can also see the scores of his Violin Concerto and String Quartet Op. 95 (through April 19).


The Leopold Museum will present a set of five paintings based on Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (known as the “Pastoral”) by the Jugendstil artist Josef Maria Auchentaller. Unveiled in 1899, the images are being reconstructed for the first time and will be displayed alongside works by Gustav Klimt, Carl Moll, Alfred Roller and more (May 30 to Sept. 21).


The House of Music, an interactive sound museum, will enhance the permanent exhibit in its Beethoven Room with historic objects including the original stage designs for “Fidelio.” It will also unveil “Bernstein’s Beethoven,” exploring the activities of Leonard Bernstein (Oct. 3 to Jan. 10, 2021), and “Inside Beethoven!” — an installation in which visitors can experience such works as the Septet Op. 20 from the perspective of a performer (June 10 to Aug. 19).

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