Love is stronger than fear.
Beethoven’s only opera is an ode to freedom. To rescue her husband, a political prisoner, the noblewoman Leonore disguises herself as a man and works at the prison where she believes her husband is held. Ranging from breathtaking arias to one of the most beautiful choral tributes to freedom ever written, Beethoven’s score is truly sublime, with an ever-building dramatic intensity that leaves the audience exhilarated.
Come hear and feel the power of this magnificent Beethoven opus.
* Madison Opera debut
Conductor: John DeMain
Director: Tara Faircloth*
Sung in German with projected English
Friday, November 21, 2014 | 8pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014 | 2:30pm
Run time: approx. 2 hours 40 minutes, including one intermission
Opera Novice: Opera & Politics / October 30, 2014
Close: Fidelio preview / November 16, 2014
Opera Talks: Pre-Opera lecture and Post-Opera
The Story of the Opera
Spain, 18th century.
ACT I. Marzelline, daughter of the jailer Rocco, rejects the attentions of the prison gatekeeper Jaquino, who hopes to marry her. Her heart is set instead on her father’s new assistant, Fidelio. The latter is distressed by Marzelline’s interest in him, which has the blessing of Rocco. Fidelio is in fact Leonore, a noblewoman from Seville who has come to the jail disguised as a man to find her husband, Florestan, a political prisoner languishing somewhere in chains. When Rocco mentions a man lying near death in the vaults below, Leonore, suspecting it might be Florestan, begs Rocco to take her on his rounds. He agrees, even though the governor of the prison, Don Pizarro, allows only Rocco in the lower levels of the dungeon.
Pizarro receives a letter warning him that Don Fernando, Minister of State, is on his way to inspect the prison. Pizarro resolves to kill his enemy Florestan without delay and orders Rocco to dig a grave for the victim in the dungeon. Leonore, overhearing his plan, realizes Pizarro’s evil nature and the plight of his victim. After praying for strength to save her husband and keep up hope, she again begs Rocco to let her accompany him to the condemned man’s cell – and also to allow the other prisoners a few moments of fresh air in the courtyard. The prisoners relish their glimpse of freedom but are ordered back by Pizarro, who hurries Rocco off to dig Florestan’s grave. With apprehension, Leonore follows Rocco into the dungeon.
In one of the lowest cells of the prison, Florestan dreams he sees Leonore arrive to free him. But his vision turns to despair and he sinks down exhausted. Rocco and Leonore arrive and begin digging the grave. Florestan awakens, not recognizing his wife, and Leonore almost loses her composure at the familiar sound of his voice. Rocco gives Florestan a drink of water, and Leonore gives him a bit of bread, urging him not to lose faith. Rocco then signals Pizarro that all is ready. The governor advances with dagger drawn to strike, but Leonore stops him with a pistol. A trumpet sounds from the battlements: Don Fernando has arrived. Rocco leads Pizarro out to meet him as Leonore and Florestan rejoice in each other’s arms.
In the prison courtyard, Don Fernando proclaims justice for all. He is amazed when Rocco brings his friend Florestan before him and relates the details of Leonore’s heroism. Pizarro is arrested and Leonore herself removes Florestan’s chains. The other prisoners too are freed, and the crowd hails Leonore.
— courtesy of Opera News
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