in association with Tectonic Theater Project
*Mature content: partial nudity
written and directed by Moisés Kaufman
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
April 8 through May 4, 2008
at the Mandell Weiss Theatre (La Jolla Playhouse , La Jolla, CA)
Vienna, 1819...the powerful music publisher Anton Diabelli writes a small, insignificant waltz and invites the great composers of the time to write a variation on it. Ludwig van Beethoven at first rejects the commission, finding the work trivial and unimportant. For unknown reasons, however, the master changes his mind, becoming obsessed with the theme for four years, ultimately writing 33 variations on the waltz. Now considered the most important work in variation form, these “Diabelli Variations” are the cause of a centuries-old mystery: why would a composer of such genius become obsessed with a common trifle?
Out to become the first to uncover Beethoven's enigmatic motivations, present-day musicologist Katherine Brandt travels to Beethoven's archives in Bonn to study the variations first-hand. As Beethoven's indisputable genius and delightful humanity come to life on the sheet music in front of her, she not only reveals the true nature of his gift, but also comes to embrace the beauty and legacy of her own life.
Written and directed by one of the most produced playwrights today, Moisés Kaufman, 33 Variations is a feast for the senses and the spirit. The story of Beethoven's fascination with a trivial waltz and the modern-day musicologist who sets out to discover the root of his obsession, makes its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. Beethoven's indisputable genius and humanity come to life in this remarkable production featuring on-stage music performed by pianist Diane Walsh.