The music becomes more dramatic when Emperor Caligula meets the titan Prometheus. Fauré wrote stage music for women’s choirs and orchestras for Alexandre Dumas’ tragedy Caligula, who Tchaikovsky is said to have moved to tears during the première. In contrast, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, Beethoven composed electrifying music to the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus (Geschöpfe des Prometheus) – a musical firework filled with hope and expectation. Beethoven could not have known that his “Promethean” hero Napoleon would have himself crowned Emperor only a few years later. The choreography of the narrative ballet was lost. The Basel author, Alain Claude Sulzer, has written his own text version in time for the Beethoven year which was performed first by an actor of the Viennese Burgtheater, Peter Simonischek.
The pianist Alexander Melnikow meets the SOB solo trumpeter Immanuel Richter in a grotesque dialogue between Caligula and Prometheus in Schostakovitsch’s 1st Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra, in which Beethoven quotes are tossed around.