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Jonas Kaufmann © Julian Hargreaves Sony Classical

Beethoven Fidelio

The 09 March 2020
Covent Garden - London
Program

Beethoven : Fidelio

Cast
  • Conductor
    Antonio Pappano
  • Director
    Tobias Kratzer
  • Performers
    Leonore: Lise Davidsen
    Florestan: Jonas Kaufmann
    Don Pizarro: Simon Neal
    Rocco: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Marzelline: Amanda Forsythe
    Jaquino: Robin Tritschler
    Don Fernando: N.N.
Details on the Performance

Beethoven’s only opera is a masterpiece, an uplifting story of risk and triumph. In this new production, conducted by Antonio Pappano, Jonas Kaufmann plays the political prisoner Florestan, and Lise Davidsen his wife Leonore (disguised as ‘Fidelio’) who daringly sets out to rescue him. Set in strong counterpoint are the ingredients of domestic intrigue, determined love and the cruelty of an oppressive regime. The music is transcendent throughout and includes the famous Act I Quartet, the Prisoners’ Chorus and Florestan’s impassioned Act II cry in the darkness and vision of hope. Tobias Kratzer’s new staging brings together the dark reality of the French Revolutionary ‘Terror’ and our own time to illuminate Fidelio’s inspiring message of shared humanity.

Source © The Royal Opera House

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Covent Garden - London Location Bow Street, Covent Garden - WC2E 9DD London Royaume-Uni

  • Venue's Capacity: 2256

The Venue's History in few words …

Covent Garden's lyrical tradition goes back to the eighteenth century. It is here, for example, in a theatre constructed in 1732 by John Rich, the successful producer of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, that the London public discovered several of Handel's operas.

Covent Garden then also staged plays and pantomime, a tradition which continued well into the thirties. The theatre has since hosted the most diverse productions, including cinema, cabaret, ice shows, and the circus. Today only opera and dance (The Royal Ballet) share the season.

 

As is the case with many an opera house. Covent Garden's life history was interrupted by fire, which twice destroyed the building. The second Royal Opera was inaugurated in 1809. Weber composed OBERON for the theatre, and conducted its premiere in 1826; the next year, Beethoven's F ID EU o was staged. From 1847, Covent Garden most often scheduled the Italian repertoire, with works by Rossini and Verdi. After the fire that demolished the second theatre in 1856, and until 1914, the third opera house built on the Covent Garden site became known as the theatre that hired the world's leading artists (like Nellie Melba, Caruso, and Adelina Patti, who refused all rehearsals by contract), and paid them royally. Several legendary conductors furthered the Royal Opera House's reputation after the First World War, such as Bruno Walter, and, of course, Thomas Beecham, who introduced the opera of Richard Strauss.

 

During the Second World War, Covent Garden became a "Palais de Dance" (sic). At the end of the war, following an intense period of negogiations. the ambitious decision was made to found a permanent opera company. Karl Rankl was appointed the first Music Director of the Covent Garden Opera Company (it became The Royal Opera in 1968) which gave its first performance in 1947.

 

Rankl's successors - Rafael Kubelik, Georg Solti, Colin Davis, and Bernard Haitink - have managed to maintain the company spirit and even the most celebrated guest artists are obliged to attend rehearsals.

Covent Garden

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Fidelio

FIDELIO, BEETHOVEN'S ONLY OPERA

Premiering as a three act opera in 1805, This opera went through several re-writes before its composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, settled on the final, version in 1814, reduced to a performance in two acts.
A German language opera which featured spoken dialogue as well as song, the opera premiered in Vienna, while the city was under French military occupation, at the Theater an der Wien. With French military officers the main audience, Beethoven struggled to find success with his story of politics, sacrifice and struggle until the third incarnation of the opera was performed at the Kärntnertortheater on 23 May 1814, with a young Franz Schubert in the audience.

THE HISTORY

Set in and around a state prison near Seville, Spain, in the late 18th Century, the story follows the plight of Florestan, a prisoner nearly starved to death, until his wife Leonore launches an audacious plan to free him, turning up at the prison dressed as a young man seeking work, where she is hired by the prison's chief guard, Rocco.

Act 1

The action begins in the prison, two years after Florestan's incarceration. Leonore is working as Rocco's assistant, disguised as a boy named Fidelio. We learn that Rocco's daughter, Marzelline, is in love with Leonore in disguise and wishes to marry him.
Rocco's assistant Jaquino is in love with Marzelline too. We also learn that Florestan is being hidden in a dungeon in the basement, where his enemy, the tyrant Pizarro, plans to kill him later that day. Rocco and Leonora set the prisoners free in the yard, where they are so overjoyed by their new found liberty that they burst into song. Pizarro arrives and the prisoners are ushered back to their cells.

Act 2

Rocco and Leonora in disguise again arrive at Florestan's cell to dig his grave before Pizarro is due to arrive to kill him. Here they sing a duet. Leonora recognises her starved and beaten husband, who begs Rocco for a drop of water, which he is given, but he does not recognise he. Pizarro arrives to kill Florestan and Leonora hides, leaping between Pizarro and Florestan when he brandishes a dagger, threatening to shoot him. Jaquino arrives to tell Pizarro a minister has arrived to see him, Rocco reveals Pizarro's murder plot, and he is taken away to prison. Leonora and Florestan sing a love duet, before she releases him from his chains, and is praised in song by the townsfolk, in front of a shocked Marzelline.

THE MAIN ROLES

Florestan, a prisoner, tenor
Leonore, his wife, soprano
Rocco, a guard, bass
Marzelline, his daughter, soprano
Jaquino, assistant to Rocco, tenor
Pizarro, governor of the prison, bass-baritone
Fernando, the King's minister, bass
Two prisoners, tenor and bass
Soldiers, prisoners and townspeople, assorted chorus.

Covent Garden

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