26 Aug 2005
Fidelio, KlangBogen Wien
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By Larry L Lash [Financial Times, 26 August 2005]
Fidelio has four different overtures for a good reason. The 1805 world premiere was a disaster, playing only three performances mostly to Napoleon's soldiers, who had stormed Vienna days before. Beethoven may not have possessed an acute sense of theatre but he was no fool: he created a second version of the opera for 1806. It, too, failed. A Prague production saw more revisions (and yet another overture), but it took until 1814 for the Fidelio we all know and love to emerge. So why revisit that disastrous original after Ludwig Van had acknowledged what was broke and fixed it?