Opera

Fidelio

Ludwig van Beethoven

Opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven Libretto by Josef Sonnleithner, Stephan von Breuning und Georg Friedrich Treitschke Performed in German with German and English supertitles

Under the name Fidelio (»the Faithful«), Leonore is able to gain access to the prison where her husband, Florestan, is illegally incarcerated. Working as the jailer’s assistant, she vainly attempts to help him. When the Governor Don Pizarro orders Florestan’s execution, Leonore continues to fight for his rescue, all the while digging his grave. Yet, it is with good reason that Beethoven’s only opera is called an »ode to freedom « … Leonore’s loyalty to Florestan, her anxiety to secure his release, the striving for justice and the demand for self-realisation, are all portrayed by Beethoven in a score that quickly dispenses with the style of light opera to rise to a higher level, at once more intimate and heroic. As a revolutionary opera, a protest against every form of tyranny or political despotism, and a plea for the defence of personal liberties, Beethoven’s opera has retained its relevance from the premiere in 1805 up to the present day. Created in the weeks prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this production of »Fidelio« at the Semperoper was initially one step ahead of political events before being overtaken by the heady pace of change. Almost 30 years later, the staging by Christine Mielitz has long become something of a cult.

Summary

Under the name Fidelio (»the Faithful«), Leonore is able to gain access to the prison where her husband, Florestan, is illegally incarcerated. Working as the jailer’s assistant, she vainly attempts to help him. When the Governor Don Pizarro orders Florestan’s execution, Leonore continues to fight for his rescue, all the while digging his grave. Yet, it is with good reason that Beethoven’s only opera is called an »ode to freedom « … Leonore’s loyalty to Florestan, her anxiety to secure his release, the striving for justice and the demand for self-realisation, are all portrayed by Beethoven in a score that quickly dispenses with the style of light opera to rise to a higher level, at once more intimate and heroic. As a revolutionary opera, a protest against every form of tyranny or political despotism, and a plea for the defence of personal liberties, Beethoven’s opera has retained its relevance from the premiere in 1805 up to the present day. Created in the weeks prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this production of »Fidelio« at the Semperoper was initially one step ahead of political events before being overtaken by the heady pace of change. Almost 30 years later, the staging by Christine Mielitz has long become something of a cult.

Synopsis

Leonore has assumed the name of Fidelio to penetrate into the prison where Florestan, her husband, is kept prisoner. She manages to be employed as a prison warder.

First scene
Marzelline, the daughter of Rocco, the prison master, refuses Jaquino's proposal of marriage. She loves Fidelio. By her betrothal to Marzelline, Leonore hopes to get Rocco's help for penetrating into the underground sections. Rocco on his turn hopes for relieving his conscience by making Fidelio an accessory. Pizarro, the governor, gets a warning that a surprising inspection is planned by the minister. He decides to put to death Florestan, his political adversary and only unlawful prisoner. He needs Rocco's help to execute this plan. Leonore asks Rocco to release the prisoners from the lighter prisons where she supposes her husband. Rocco gives permission to do so. — As Pizarro gets to hear about it, he orders all prisoners to be immediately locked again. 



Second scene
After two years of solitary confinement, Florestan's resistance threatens to break down. Rocco and Leonore open the cistern which is planned to be the grave for the secret prisoner. Leonore is ready and willing to save the stranger. She recognizes him to be her husband. As Pizarro tries to eliminate his adversary, she prevents this murder. As the minister's arrival is announced, Pizarro has to welcome him. Leonore and Florestan are together again without knowing their fate. Don Fernando, the minister, orders all prisoners to be brought before him and issues a general amnesty. Rocco accuses Pizarro of attempted murder. Pizarro has to resign. The minister takes up the appeal made by the people in declaring it his original intention.

Complete Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden

Recommendations

Selected Performance

  • Saturday 15 Sep 2018
  • Starting Time 7 pm
  • Intervals after 75 minutes
  • End 9.35 pm
  • Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes

  • Venue Semperoper Dresden

Free introductory talk

  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Sunday 23 Sep 2018
  • Starting Time 6 pm
  • Intervals after 75 minutes
  • End 8.35 pm
  • Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes

  • Venue Semperoper Dresden

Free introductory talk

  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Thursday 4 Oct 2018
  • Starting Time 7 pm
  • Intervals after 75 minutes
  • End 9.35 pm
  • Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes

  • Venue Semperoper Dresden

Free introductory talk

  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Monday 8 Oct 2018
  • Starting Time 7 pm
  • Intervals after 75 minutes
  • End 9.35 pm
  • Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes

  • Venue Semperoper Dresden

Free introductory talk

  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Friday 12 Oct 2018
  • Starting Time 7 pm
  • Intervals after 75 minutes
  • End 9.35 pm
  • Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes

  • Venue Semperoper Dresden

Free introductory talk

  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

Cast

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Sinfoniechor Dresden - Extrachor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden