Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Repertoire

Carlo Diacono: L’Alpino

“Diacono himself does not know what musical talent he possesses” – Mascagni

The Nibelungen-Myth. As Sketch for a Drama

From the womb of Night and Death was spawned a race that dwells in Nibelheim (Nebelheim), i.e. in gloomy subterranean clefts and caverns: Nibelungen are they called; with restless nimbleness they burrow through the bowels of the earth, like worms in a dead body; they smelt and smith hard metals.

Martín y Soler: Una cosa rara

Una cosa rara, ossia Bellezza ed onestà. Dramma giocoso in two acts.

Music composed by Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806). Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte from the comedy La luna de la Sierra by Luis Vélez de Guevara.

Mefistofele at Orange’s Chorégies

This is the one where a very personable devil tells God that mankind is so far gone it isn’t worth his time to bother corrupting it further.

A culinary coupling from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

What a treat the London Music Conservatoires serve up for opera-goers each season. After the Royal Academy’s Bizet double-bill of Le docteur Miracle and La tragédie de Carmen, and in advance of the Royal College’s forthcoming pairing of Huw Watkins’ new opera, In the Locked Room, based on a short story by Thomas Hardy, and The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama have delivered a culinary coupling of Paul Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner and Sir Lennox Berkeley’s The Dinner Engagement which the Conservatoire last presented for our delectation in November 2006.

THOMAS: Hamlet, Moscow 2015

Hamlet: Opéra in five acts. Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.

La Púrpura de la Rosa

Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.

Das Liebesverbot, Vienna 1962

Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.

Lohengrin, Bayreuth 2010 Live

Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.

Parsifal, Bayreuth 2012 Live

Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.

Music from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .

Operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller

This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.

Operas Based on French Literature

Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:

Jules Massenet: Le Cid

Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts

Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani

I puritani, opera seria in three acts

Vincenzo Bellini: Zaira

Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.

G. F. Handel: Athalia

Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts

DONIZETTI: Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.

BERTIN: La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.

VERDI: Ernani — Florence 1957

Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Repertoire

Ludwig van Beethoven
27 Nov 2005

BEETHOVEN: Fidelio — Munich 1978

Fidelio, an opera in two acts

Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio

Nikolaus Hillebrand (Don Fernando), Donald McIntyre (Don Pizarro), James King (Florestan), Hildegard Behrens (Leonore/Fidelio), Kurt Moll (Rocco), Lucia Popp (Marzellina), Norbert Orth (Jaquino). Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Karl Böhm (cond.). Live performance 30 January 1978.
Recording and license to stream provided by Bayerische Staatsoper.

 

Music by Ludwig van Beethoven. Libretto by Josef Sonnleithner, based on a French libretto by Jean Nicolas Bouilly

First performance: 23 May 1814 at the k.k. Hoftheater nächst dem Kärnthnerthor, Vienna

Principal Characters:
Florestan, a Spanish nobleman Tenor
Leonora, his wife, in male attire known as "Fidelio" Soprano
Don Fernando, the Prime Minister Bass
Don Pizarro, Governor of the prison Bass-Baritone
Rocco, chief jailer Bass
Marzellina, his daughter Soprano
Jaquino, his assistant Tenor

Time and Place:

Seville, 18th Century

Synopsis:

Act I

Don Pizarro, the despotic governor of a state prison near Seville, is in the habit of holding his political enemies prisoner at his mercy. One of these enemies is Don Florestan, who has publicly accused the governor of abusing the power of his position. Leonore, Florestan's wife, suspects that her husband is being held prisoner by Pizarro and so, disguised as a man and calling herself Fidelio, she gets a job as assistant to Rocco, the chief jailer.

Marzelline, Rocco's daughter, has fallen in love with Fidelio and rejects the suit of Jaquino, the jailer who has been courting her for years. Rocco also now seems to prefer the idea of Fidelio, who is much cleverer than the simple Jaquino, as a son-in-law and gives his approval of his daughter's decision.

Pizarro receives an anonymous letter warning him that the King's minister, Don Fernando, plans to come and inspect the prison. It has come to his ears that political prisoners are being unlawfully held there. Pizarro immediately posts a trumpeter to keep watch and warn him of the minister's approach so that he has time to do away with Florestan before the minister arrives at the prison. Pizarro instructs Rocco to kill Florestan, but the latter refuses and the governor determines to do the job himself, ordering Rocco to dig a grave in Florestan's cell.

Leonore, who has overheard this conversation between Pizarro and Rocco, is determined to rescue Florestan; she plans to search for him among the prisoners and set him free. She pleads with Rocco to allow the prisoners to take exercise in the prison yard but is unable to discover her husband among them. She then persuades Rocco to take her with him into the dungeons, where the suspects Florestan is being held. Pizzaro appears and angrily orders the prisoners to be hustled back to their cells but refrains from punishing Rocco for acting without orders because of the latter's involvement in the plot to murder Florestan.

Act II

Florestan is bewailing his fate in a dungeon and on the verge of hallucination, so to speak, as he sees the image of Leonore in his mind's eye.

Rocco, followed by Leonore, comes in to dig the grave. Horrified, she recognises her husband. When Rocco gives the agreed signal, Pizarro arrives to kill Florestan. Leonore reveals herself as Florestan's wife and is able to prevent the murder by courageously stepping between her husband and Pizarro as he draws his dagger, just as the trumpeter gives the signal announcing the arrival of the minister.

Don Fernando, who has believed his friend Florestan dead, sets him and all the other prisoners free and Pizarro, the tyrant, is arrested to await his just punishment.

Courtesy of the Bayerische Staatsoper. Translation: Susan Bollinger

Click here for the complete libretto.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):