Classical music

Smoke and Mirrors

Part of Classical Season 2018/19

Aurora Orchestra presents a phantasmagoria, conjuring up the spirits and myths of two early romantic masterpieces: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

200 years before the advent of 'immersive theatre’, audiences in post-revolutionary Paris were transfixed by a thrilling and often terrifying form of new theatrical entertainment. Combining early experiments in optical illusion, ghostly projections and eerie sound effects, these so-called ‘phantasmagorias’ were often shut down by authorities fearful of their convincingly supernatural content.

For the next instalment in its pioneering Orchestral Theatre series, Aurora Orchestra presents a modern-day phantasmagoria inspired by two early romantic masterpieces. 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 Aurora Orchestra perform it entirely from memory: expect sparks to fly.

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

Splendid beyond measure – this work evokes terror, fright, horror and pain, and awakens endless longing


Aurora Orchestra
Nicholas Collon conductor
Marcus Farnsworth chansonnier
Jane Mitchell director, concept


Beethoven: Symphony No.5 (performed from memory)
HK Gruber: Frankenstein!!

Dates & times

16 Sep 2018 - 16 Sep 2018
Approximate run time: 120 mins
Run times may vary, find out more
  • September 2018


Queen Elizabeth Hall


£10 - £40
Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)
£10, £25, £35, £40


25% off (limited availability)
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