Royal Opera House: Fidelio
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Royal Opera 2019⁄20 Season: Fidelio
Lise Davidsen and Jonas Kaufmann shine, while Antonio Pappano conducts, in this passionate production of Beethoven’s only opera.
Inspired by a true story that took place during the French Revolution, it tells the story of Leonore whose husband Florestan has been secretly imprisoned by Don Piazarro, a political rival desperate to ensure Florestan is prevented from exposing his crimes. Determined to rescue him, she disguises herself as a young man, Fidelio, to work in the prison. But Don Piazarro seems determined to silence Florestan for good and Leonore/Fidelio finds herself in a race against time to save him.
Fidelio has a long and complex history. It exists in three versions. The original premiered in 1805, with a revised, shorter version appearing the following year. By convention, these versions are known as Leonore. The Royal Opera House’s production, directed by Tobias Katzer, is based on Beethoven’s final version, which premiered at Vienna’s prestigious Kärntnertortheater on 23 May 1814. Norwegian soprano Davidsen, who plays Leonore, made her Royal Opera debut in the 2018-19 season, playing Freia (Das Rheingold), Ortlinde (Die Walküre) and Third Norn (Götterdämmerung). Kaufmann is no stranger to the ROH stage. He made his debut in 2004, playing Ruggero in La rondine. Since then he has appeared in over six productions. His nemesis in Fidelio is played by Simon Neal, whose last appearance with the Royal Opera was as the Duke of Verona in the 2010-11 season production of Roméo et Juliette.