This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

14Oct/20

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: BEETHOVEN / EGMONT

Liev Schreiber narrates new English translation of Egmont with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (photo by Chris Lee)

Who: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Liev Schreiber and Karen Slack
What: Livestreamed world premiere
Where: IDAGIO Global Concert Hall
When: Saturday, October 17, $15, 8:00
Why: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra goes virtual and global with “Speaking Truth to Power,” an online performance of Beethoven’s Egmont, Op. 84, with a new English translation by Philip Boehm commissioned for the New York City ensemble, narrated by actor Liev Schreiber. A series of incidental music pieces written by Beethoven for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1787 play, Egmont, the work has reunited the full orchestra, which has not been together since the pandemic began; they performed it recently as a socially distanced unit at the Beechwood Park bandshell in Hillsdale, New Jersey. “One of Beethoven’s masterworks, this work has yet to find its way into the major concert halls in the US and I believe that this new version will be worthy to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year,” Orpheus executive director Alexander Scheirle said in a statement. “Especially in a time where concert halls are closed, it will be a magical moment for our musicians and all the other family members of Orpheus. A spectacle not to be missed.”

Soprano Karen Slack performs with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New Jersey (photo by Chris Lee)

The hourlong piece, which also features soprano and activist Karen Slack, will be available from the online hub IDAGIO Global Concert Hall beginning October 17 at 8:00 and continue through October 22 at midnight. In preparation for the concert, you can watch a “Thursdays with Thomas” chat between Slack and baritone Thomas Hampson here, and on October 15 at 7:00 a Zoom Concert Preview will take place with Orpheus artistic directors Christof Huebner, Dana Kelley, and Miho Saegusa along with Scheirle and Boehm at 6:00 and an opening night gala at 7:00 honoring Consul General of Germany David Gill. The new translation is rather timely, as evidenced by this quatrain: “Many wish their rulers nothing but good will / While others hope the current state won’t last, / Many just abide the present, keeping still, / While in their hearts they’re yearning for the past.”

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