Beethoven in the Dark
Beethoven’s late quartets seem to be the ultimate choice when it comes to finding repertoire for these unconventional performances. Tom Morris, artistic director of Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Proms, encouraged us to commit another late Beethoven quartet, Opus 131 to memory and then perform it in the dark.
We have now performed this epic masterpiece twice in this way, and have another performance in Colchester’s Roman River Festival in September. It is an exhilarating experience for all involved. The idea is that we have no sheet music so that a lighting designer is able to control the lighting, creating moments of complete darkness and other times of ambient lighting that enhances the performance.
It is amazing how much the absence of light distils the sound and the music becomes even more powerful. Performing in this way feels much more vulnerable, and it felt like we were more connected as players – especially without the physical barriers of music and music stands