Beethoven: Fidelio

This might be the only reason these two albums are still in my collection. Every time it is up for the decision to throw away, I’m checking what is inside and I find this. I have a lot of Beethoven, but I have only one recording of his only opera. And I’m an opera fan.

Leonore, oder der Triumph des ehelichen Liebe, later called Fidelio was first performed in 1805 in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. creating it had not been a light affair. The work has gone through three different versions and was only finished in 1814, 11 years after its original conception. Beethoven was so frustrated about it, he never wrote another opera.

The opera tells about Leonore rescuing her husband from a political prison, disguised as a prison guard named Fidelio. This opera is about liberty and justice. The subject matter is highly revolutionary for the time. Europe had just witnessed the French Revolution and the subsequent rise to power of Napoleon. in 1814 he was all but disappeared, but the political consequences were enormous.

It is strange to hear this opera: it sounds like Mozart mixed up with a Beethoven symphony. This strange combination is what makes it so special in my opinion. I remember first checking it out from the local library. I didn’t like it, so I didn’t record it on tape. Many years later I found this record, and I retried it. It took me a bit longer to appreciate.

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