In the spring of 1801, Ludwig van Beethoven completed the ballet, the Creatures of Prometheus based on Salvatore Viganò’s storyline.
The ballet premiered on 28 March 1801 at the Burgtheater in Vienna with 28 performances. It was premiered in New York at the Park Theatre on 14 June 1808, one of the first full length works by Beethoven to be performed in the United States. It is the only full length ballet by Beethoven.
The Australian premier of Beethoven’s 220 years old music and ballet was a matinee performance on 20 November 2022 at the Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane. The ballet was historically reconstructed from the 1801 performance with new choreography by Queenslander, Jayden Grogan.
Lucas D. Lynch, conductor and producer informed the audience he was inspired to share Beethoven’s ballet with Australia after hearing the music for the first time, 14 years earlier.
The plot follows Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus to spark life into two clay figures, thereby creating humankind.
Mostly set on Mount Parnassus, the man and woman encounter a multitude of characters from Greek mythology during their journey from birth through education to their wedding:
- Apollo (god of music, dance, the Sun, light, and poetry)
- Amphion (built Thebes with the power of music) playing harp
- Euterpe (delight) playing flute
- Orpheus (legendary musician) playing cello
- Mars (god of war)
- Melpomene (muse of tragedy)
- Thalia (one of the three graces)
- Dionysus (god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, wine, fruit, and theatre)
- Silenus (drunken god of wine)
- Pan (god of the wild, rustic music and companion of nymphs)
We were fortunate to be able to enjoy this spectacular production firsthand. The balance of comedy and tragedy against Beethoven’s powerfully sublime music was awe inspiring!