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Germany celebrates 250-year-old ‘pop star’ Beethoven

/ 01:25 PM December 13, 2019

BERLIN, GERMANY — Germany is pulling out the stops for the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth with more than 700 events, including homages by Hollywood actor Christoph Waltz and electronic outfit Kraftwerk.

Here are the main festivities planned ahead of the big day next year for the man described by German weekly Der Spiegel as “a 250-year-old pop star”:

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— December 16: Ludwig van Beethoven’s home in Bonn reopens to the public as a museum after extensive renovation, on the day most widely believed to be his birthday.

The museum will include an exhibition with scores and instruments as well as the notebooks he used to communicate after going deaf in 1801 — 26 years before his death.

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The former West German capital is hoping for a big tourism boost from the year of festivities.

— February 1: Beethoven’s only opera “Fidelio” is performed at the State Opera in Vienna, where the composer lived at the beginning of the 19th century.

The German-Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who works mainly in the United States, will also stage “Fidelio” from March 16 at the city’s Theater an der Wien — the place where the opera was first performed in 1805.

— April 25 and 26: Berlin hosts a “Beethoven Marathon” with the city’s Philharmonic orchestra playing the composer’s works over 24 hours.

— April 28: Back in Bonn, a hypothetical version of Beethoven’s unfinished Tenth Symphony completed by artificial intelligence will be performed.

— May 16: Kraftwerk give an open-air concert in Bonn in honour of the composer. The group will also be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2020.

— December 17: The Beethoven year closes with a concert in the parliament building in Bonn, underlining the political significance of a composer whose “Ode to Joy” from his Ninth Symphony became the EU’s anthem.

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So important is the anniversary that the need to prepare for it was written into a 2013 coalition agreement between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.

The deal said the preparations were a “national duty”.

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TAGS: Beethoven, Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany, international, Music
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