Now that Germany is gradually beginning to lift its lockdown restrictions, Daniel Hope is taking his innovative new livestreamed TV series – “a hugely successful show … that has resurrected the art of the house concert” (The Guardian) – out of his Berlin living room and on the road. [email protected] on Tour continues to offer half-hour episodes of live musical performance and conversation in English, all professionally produced for Europe’s ARTE TV network, the hit series’ new iteration will stream live three times a week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12 noon EDT (9am PDT; 6pm CEST), from a succession of visually compelling locations, many of which are not open to the public.
In the inaugural episode, Hope hosts the doyenne of the German theatrical scene, actor and director Katharina Thalbach, at Berlin’s Clärchens Ballhaus, an historic Belle Époque dance hall that has just been saved from condemnation. Here, as at the Berlin Television Tower, the Beethovenhaus Bonn, the dome of Dresden’s Frauenkirche Cathedral and other featured locations, the British violinist plans to recreate the intimate ambience of his living room with the help of a few familiar props, including his filament lamps, art nouveau posters and masked bust of Beethoven. As Germany continues to reopen more spaces to the public, some episodes might be shot before a live audience. See the trailer for [email protected] on Tour, here.
“As many countries slowly and carefully begin to reopen, musicians and artists everywhere are asking themselves how and if they might cautiously return to public music-making. I thought it might be an interesting experiment to take my living room on the road to selected venues around Germany and perhaps further afield, to give the home audience out there unprecedented access to stunning venues whilst at the same time offering a very select audience the chance to experience live music again – of course obeying all the current safety and distancing rules. My goal is to continue sharing music and hope.”
Expressly conceived by the violinist as “DIY TV” for our socially distanced times, the original [email protected] series exceeded all expectations. With guests ranging from director Barrie Kosky to Sir Simon Rattle, the daily series was extended from two weeks to six, running to a total of 34 episodes, five “best of” compilations, and a TV special. Streamed almost three million times by viewers on five continents, [email protected] raised several thousand Euros for arts-related charities, channeling dozens of donations to the Emergency Fund for Freelance Musicians as well as supporting freelance Berlin actors and theater workers. Hope reflects:
“I have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary worldwide response to [email protected]. Many people have written in to say that the series has literally given them hope at home. Even since the show ended on May 3, people continue to send in messages and emails every day asking us to continue or saying how much they are still enjoying the shows in the ARTE Media Library. We have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, and press outlets as far afield as China, Turkey, Russia and Malaysia.”
Since its grand opening in 1913, Clärchens Ballhaus was Berlin’s most important Belle Époque ballroom for more than a hundred years. Yet, as The Guardian reports, despite having “survived the Third Reich, the GDR and illegal sword duels,” the beloved venue fell victim to lease renewal problems earlier this year, when it was forced to close its doors. A public outcry ensued, and it was only thanks to the intervention of Israeli investor and photographer Yoram Roth that the building was saved. Hope’s will be the first live performances in the venue since its restoration.
After streaming the first two episodes of [email protected] on Tour from the ballroom, Hope plans to conclude his opening weekend at Berlin’s famous Television Tower, arguably the most iconic structure on the city skyline. Then, marking the show’s first foray beyond the German capital, next weekend he plans to honor Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with episodes streamed from the Beethovenhaus Bonn, of which Hope is the President. He comments:
“As the new President of the Beethovenhaus Bonn, it is my role to preserve Beethoven’s music and legacy around the world. Beethoven stood for the role of the independent artist and was himself the ideal role model for fighting against all odds. As many freelance artists find themselves in a precarious situation due to the pandemic, it is perhaps time to reevaluate how we perform, live and share music.”
The Beethovenhaus Bonn adds:
“The Beethovenhaus Bonn supports the initiative of its President to win back public spaces for concerts via the series [email protected] on Tour.”
Beethovenhaus director Malte Boecker reflects:
“We are looking forward to hosting several concerts in Bonn, the city of Beethoven’s birth. It is particularly symbolic as the world celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday that we can experience this important anniversary with live concerts again as soon as possible.”