Busts of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven are for sale in a souvenir shop in Bonn, western
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Saratoga Shakespeare Company tomorrow night will premiere the audio performance of Testament, a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven in a moment of crisis: grappling with the loss of his hearing, and emerging from his suffering to write one of the greatest symphonies of all time, the “Eroica.”
Testament was written by Damian Lanigan and co-produced with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in association with the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was commissioned by SSC to be premiered during SPAC’s Beethoven 2020 Festival.
In keeping with SSC’s commitment to presenting free and accessible professional productions, the performance will be available to stream online for free on both SSC’s and SPAC’s websites from August 22 at 8 p.m. EDT until 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 23.
Part of SPAC’s Beethoven 2020 celebration, the production features recordings from the Philadelphia Orchestra, recreations of period instrumentation, and appearances by professional actors, including several students and alumni from Skidmore College.
Testament had originally been planned as a live performance at SPAC as part of the SSC’s 2020 summer season, but in response to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the company pivoted to an audio presentation that Marcus Dean Fuller, director of Testament and executive and artistic director of SSC, described as a “musically driven audiobook.”
“Audio allows you to get right inside the minds of the characters, and at the same time speak quite deeply to an audience — not least because the medium allows access to the characters’ inner lives in ways that wouldn’t work on stage,” saidLanigan about the pivot to an audio performance. “The music becomes a more prominent part of the whole thing. If there was ever a subject suitable to an audio production, it’s this one.”
Julian Tushabe, a Ugandan actor and third-year student at Skidmore College, will be making his professional debut in the role of Beethoven. The cast also includes Skidmore College alums Chris Naughton and Evy Yergan, as well as Saratoga residents Liam McKenna and John Romeo. Michael Stewart Allen rounds out the cast.
Founded in 2000, SSC is Saratoga County’s professional theatre company.
Located in the historic resort town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, SPAC is one of America’s most prestigious summer festivals. Its tranquil setting in a 2,400-acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers and natural mineral springs draws vacationers and arts connoisseurs each year for immersive experiences of performances by the New York City Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival and Opera Saratoga, and concerts by Live Nation.