Hershey Felder: Beethoven is a masterpiece of storytelling that engages and enlightens the audience about the life and undeniable brilliance of composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Once again through the great artistry of Hershey Felder as a pianist and storyteller, a musical genius is presented in an accessible and entertaining way on stage at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
Felder’s one-man musical presentation offers an extraordinary journey that starts and ends at Beethoven’s gravesite. The setting creates a haunting backdrop that allows the composer to come alive through the reminisces of his best friend’s son. The narrator is a Viennese doctor who spent his boyhood by the Maestro’s side, and his tales are illuminating. Life in Vienna, encounters with Mozart and a troubled family life humanize the legend.
Felder reveals the fascinating stories behind Beethoven’s most beloved compositions and then sits at the Steinway and plays some of the most famous works including the Moonlight Sonata, Pathetique Sonata, Für Elise, and selections from the 5th Symphony. Of course, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (“Ode to Joy”) is a highlight.
Hearing and enjoying Beethoven’s work adds to the most tragic irony that the most beautiful music ever composed was never heard by the genius who created it. Felder laments the fact that Beethoven was totally deaf but celebrates the gift of music that he gave the world. That celebration is a must-see theatrical experience.
“Hershey Felder: Beethoven,” brilliantly written by Felder and skillfully directed by Joel Zwick, is presented through Sunday, August 19 at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. For tickets call (310) 746-4000 or visit TheWallis.org.