Giulietta by Susie Coreth
Goes up: Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th March: The Barron Theatre, 7.30pm; Tickets £4
More information: Giulietta
At the turn of Ludwig van Beethoven’s musical career in 1802, he lost two of the most important things in his life. This short play depicts the final meeting between the Maestro and Countess Giulietta, the Moonlight Sonata’s muse.
What were your motivations behind writing this piece?
Susie: This play is based on a true story, one that means a lot to me personally; Giulietta is my ancestor. I have always loved the Moonlight Sonata as a piece of music and yet the story behind its muse is almost completely unknown.
This extract is from Scene 1, set in 1856 (thirty years after Beethoven’s death). Count Moritz Coreth is talking to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi Gallenberg about her relationship with the famous composer. Beethoven had wanted to marry her in 1802, but Giulietta’s father had forbidden the matrimony. As a result, the composer dedicated one of his most famous pieces to her – the Moonlight Sonata.
The situation that Giulietta found herself in — the conflict between upholding a duty to your family and marrying the man whom you love — would have affected many young women at the time. The difference for Giulietta is that she would have been reminded of it every day for the rest of her life. Of course, Beethoven was also a difficult man with a sharp temper and volatile character; 1802, the year in which Scene 2 is set, proved to be quite a testing time for the composer…
GIULIETTA: What you must remember was that I was only twenty years of age; I was very naïve. I did not really know, really understand, what was right for me. At that time, I felt like nothing could stop us – no matter what got in our way, we could battle through. The problem was that I did not have a choice about whether to become his wife, to stay with him. And do not get me wrong – I loved my husband, very much – but it was always intended for me to marry him. I did not choose to.
MORITZ: But had circumstances been different… Would you not have married Beethoven, had it been allowed?
GIULIETTA: [sighs] He had lovers before me and lovers after me; he was a man full of love, very passionate about everything. As I said, I was very young and had been forced to mature before my years. Had we married, we may have loved each other for a while, but that love would probably have grown apart. His real love was music. It always was.
MORITZ: Do you think he never really loved you?
GIULIETTA: Oh, he did love me. For a while. I have no doubt about that… Yes. Yes, he did. He loved me. I… I think that his music proves that.
MORITZ: The Moonlight Sonata.
by Susie Coreth
Photo credits: Aiden Bowman