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PBS' 'Great Performances' series uses Blantyre as the set of this Friday's episode

LENOX — Blantyre will hold the national spotlight Friday night, when PBS televises an episode of its signature “Great Performances” series, shot last January at the high-end resort.

The one-hour show, part of the independently produced “Now Hear This” series, features violinist and conductor Scott Yoo and several other musicians in an otherworldly exploration of Beethoven’s career.

The show airs at 9 p.m. on WMHT-TV in Schenectady, N.Y., and WGBY, in Springfield, available on Spectrum cable systems, as well as on the PBS Video app.

Musicians and film crew setting up at Blantyre

The film crew for the PBS “Now Hear This” series on “Great Performances” sets up for a mid-January week of filming an episode, “Beethoven’s Ghost,” at the Blantyre resort in Lenox. The episode will air on PBS on Friday night. 

The timing of the telecast on Halloween weekend is not coincidental, since the featured music includes Beethoven’s well-known “Ghost Trio.”

The show, a mix of theatrical storytelling, documentary elements and musical performances, is centered on the apparition of Beethoven, trailed by the spirit of Sigmund Freud (1836-1939), the Austrian neurologist and father of psychoanalysis.

The analysis of the troubled composer’s musical mind proceeds through dramatized, imagined conversations between the ghosts of Beethoven and Freud.

“The ‘Ghost Trio’ was composed at a crucial intersection in Beethoven’s life, when his deafness had progressed enough to end his performing career, and he was forced to make his living solely as a composer," said Harry Lynch, creator, writer and director of the “Now Hear This” episodes. "Of course, what at the time seemed tragic yielded some of his most monumental work."

Lynch described the goal of the show as attracting viewers through a dramatic setting with musical illustrations.

While filming the series during one week of production last January at the imposing Blantyre resort in a 1902 Elizabethan Tudor manor house resembling a Scottish castle, Lynch and Yoo, an executive producer of the series, supervised an 18-member crew of musicians, actors, technicians and producers, with two medics on standby to conduct frequent testing for COVID-19.

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