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Beethoven: Hero/Rebel

As the dream of liberty promised by Napoleon crumbled to dust, Beethoven faced his own personal struggles. Maxim Emelyanychev and Vilde Frang join us in two works that capture the rebellious spirit and herosim of the time.
London, Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall £15 - £64 (Premium £85)

General booking for this event will open in October 2024.

Priority Booking for Friends & Patrons of the OAE opens on Wednesday 17 April. You can join online today to access priority booking now or log in to book if you are already a member.

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Violin Concerto
Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’

Vilde Frang violin
Maxim Emelyanychev conductor

What does it mean to be a hero or a rebel?

That question may well have been in Beethoven’s mind in the early years of the 19th Century as the macro-politics of the day seemed to clash with his own mental health struggles. In 1802 Beethoven had written to his brothers distressed by his developing deafness. In the following years, Napoleon’s campaign to liberate Europe from tyrannous monarchies sparked hope in the composer. He dedicated his Symphony No. 3 to the consul, but before the work was performed in public, Napoleon declared himself Emperor. Beethoven famously eradicated the dedication from the cover page of the Symphony’s manuscript, declaring “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now he, too, will tread underfoot all the rights of man and indulge only his ambition” (according to Ferdinand Ries, at least).  

Both the ‘Eroica’ (Heroic) Symphony and Violin Concerto, rebelled against contemporary expectations of what a symphony or concerto should be. Both are unprecedentedly epic, taking the performers to the edge of their resources. Here is where mettle is tested, the place where rebels become heroes.

Our heroes-in-chief today will be Norwegian superstar Vilde Frang and Maxim Emelyanychev, returning to conduct the OAE following acclaimed collaborations in Saint-Saëns, Grieg and Sibelius.

Part of Southbank Centre Season 2024/25.

"Listening to her is somehow liberating and therefore so enjoyable - especially since it captivates one entirely."