This bronze bust, a copy by Anton Dietrich (exhibited in Vienna), reminds us of a link between Milan, La Scala and the famous composer. In fact, Beethoven wrote the music for the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus (Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus) based
on choreography by Salvatore Viganò (of whom a bust by Bartolini can be seen in the Esedra room). Viganò was one of the most influential and authoritative figures in early nineteenth century ballet. From 1813 until his death, he was maître du ballet at La Scala, where he staged his most famous ballets, much admired by Rossini and Stendhal.
Large,massed scenes were his speciality.
Prometheus premièred in 1801 at Vienna’s Hoftheater, but was revived at La Scala in 1813 with only four pieces of Beethoven’s original music. Music by other composers was inserted into it in line with the musical tastes and styles of the period.
A page handwritten by Beethoven is housed in the Museum’s archive which contains
a draft of the opera’s second quartet. 18