Christine Mielitz’s production of Beethoven’s »Fidelio« celebrated its premiere on 7 October 1989. While local citizens took to the streets in front of the Semperoper in support of democracy and human rights, the director placed this »opera of liberation« in a contemporary prison courtyard featuring a surveillance tower and barbed wire. At a time of revolution, terror and war, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his opera about a woman who, disguised as a man, tries to rescue her husband from illegal incarceration in a secret prison. In the story, the heroism of Leonore is juxtaposed with the banal world of the prison warden Rocco; simultaneously, grand opera is contrasted with German Singspiel. At the end comes liberation, delineated by Beethoven in almost superhuman, utopian music. More than three decades after its premiere, this Dresden production of »Fidelio« from 1989 has lost none of its intensity.