"Immortal Beloved" Film Follows Classical Concert
Two young musicians, one a pianist and the other a violinist, will present a stirring all-Beethoven Classical Concert, Monday night, March 18, at the Sunrise Theater.
The following day, the theater, in cooperation with the Arts Council, will exhibit a feature film about Ludwig van Beethoven's life and loves -well, actually, about one particular love - his "Immortal Beloved."
Released in 1994 and starring Gary Oldman as Beethoven, the film tells the story of the search made by Beethoven's secretary and first biographer, Anton Felix Schindler, to find the woman whom Beethoven referred to as his "immortal beloved."
Long a tantalizing puzzle for scholars from the early 19th century to today, this three-part letter - a letter that was apparently never sent - was found among the composer's private papers after his death in 1827.
Though there is agreement that Beethoven was writing in 1812 to a real woman of his acquaintance, there has never been, from then until today, any consensus on who the woman was.
The film's writer and director, Bernard Rose, stakes his claim that Beethoven's "immortal beloved" was Johanna Reiss, the daughter of Anton Van Reiss, a prosperous Viennese upholsterer.
In the film, Rose has Shindler travel throughout the Austrian Empire interviewing women who might be potential candidates, revealing along the way the fascinating story of the artist's tumultuous life.
Considered an excellent film at the time of its release, reviewers as diverse as Roger Ebert, who wrote that "'Immortal Beloved' has clearly been made by people who feel Beethoven in their hearts," and Janet Maslin, who claimed that "Oldman captured Beethoven as a believably brilliant figure struggling with his deafness and other demons," have touted the emotional power of the work.
However, just to hear the music alone would be worth the $5 ticket. The audience is treated to portions of 13 different Beethoven concertos, sonatas and symphonies, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.
A spokesperson indicated that a handout identifying the selections in the order of their performance will be available at the theater.
The film will be screened at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. Tickets will be sold at the box office beginning 30 minutes before show time.
The Sunrise Theater is located at 250 Broad St. in Southern Pines. Refreshments, including beer and wine, are available.
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