When you receive this letter,
listen to it carefully;
you might hear my voice whispering…

Beethoven in Stalingrad is a new play based on letters that were confiscated and hidden away by the Nazi regime. Around Christmas 1942, the German soldiers in Stalingrad were given one last opportunity to write home. Their powerful testimonies are here intertwined with a live remix of Beethoven’s music. Scottish violinist Ian Peaston unravels and remixes the Appassionata in distorted electronic strands that mirror the narratives of real soldiers’ letters from Stalingrad, adapted and performed by actor Jesper Arin.

Through the texts we get a glimpse into one of the worst wars in history of mankind in a most personal way. Although the soldiers are well aware of the disastrous situation that they are in they all handle it very differently. The letters contain messages of hate, longing and despair but they also send us reassurance, love and hope.

Intertwined with the letters throughout the performance are parts of Beethoven’s Appassionata, arranged and performed live on electric violin by Peaston. You can hear more of his music at elucian and at Violin Variations.

Soundscape from the production

And the critics say…
“The performance is mesmerising: there’s a compelling intimacy and a visceral emotional intensity to these attempts to give voice to experiences almost too big for words.”
★★★★ Midlands What’s On

“The musical accompaniment deserves a special mention, as it serves as both background thematic texture and diagetic music in a stunning moment of virtuosic humanity.”
★★★★ British Theater Guide

“…powerful, haunting and occasionally shattering solo theatre piece.”
Highly recommended by FringeReview

“The themes of the letters are universal, and that’s exactly what makes this piece of theatre so powerful.”
★★★★ BroadwayBaby

“The play hits you emotionally and makes you think about big questions of belief, survival, suffering and love.”
Counter Culture

Sell-out laurel, Beethoven in Stalingrad

About the production
Text: Authentic letters written by German soldiers
Adapted and directed by Jesper Arin
Music: Extracts from Piano Sonata No. 23, Appassionata by Ludwig van Beethoven
Arrangement: Ian Peaston
Art design: Anna Sigurdsdotter
Violinist: Ian Peaston
Actor: Jesper Arin
Running time: approximately 60 minutes

Technical Rider
Stage measures: Depth 5 m, Width 5 m, Height 3 m
Power: 2x 10A
Complete black out
Set / Strike time: 2 hours / 1 hour