COSTA MESA — As recently as last week, Beethoven sightings have been reported throughout Orange County.
At least a dozen people have spotted the infamously temperamental 239-year-old German composer. Photographs show a diminutive Ludwig inside planters, next to a hungry dog, petting a black cat, socializing with Aflac ducks and enjoying Belvedere vodka.
His ongoing sojourn even includes attending a performance of his Ninth Symphony at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. No word yet if the great composer could actually hear it.
The real Beethoven — buried in Vienna near the resting places of other famous European composers — has been revived in spirit by his flatter, paper self as part of a promotion by the Costa Mesa-based Pacific Symphony.
Fans of the composer are invited to print out "Flat Beethoven," color him in and post pictures of where he travels. Chosen shots go on the Pacific Symphony's Facebook page.
In the drawing of Beethoven, he is holding a piece of sheet music inscribed with a treble clef and the Pacific Symphony logo. He also sports an ascot and his famously wild hairdo.
"So far it seems like people are having fun with it," said Jayce Keane, the Pacific Symphony's director of public relations. "Sightings are turning up everywhere."
According to the printout, "Flat Beethoven lives at the Pacific Symphony but loves to travel in Orange County and all over the world. He shares his knowledge of classical music with everyone and brings joy to others who are learning about classical music and orchestras."
This season, the Pacific Symphony is performing several of Beethoven's compositions, including his five piano concertos. The cost-effective promotion reflects this year's focus, Keane said.
"It's just the fact that the season ahead, you could say, is Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven," Keane said.
So far, 20 Flat Beethoven sightings are posted on the Facebook page.
"He's popping up in new spots," Keane said. "Everyone will have to stay tuned to see where he shows up."
To print out the composer, visit http://tinyurl.com/Flat-Beethoven.