Friday, August 19, 2011

Endlich Fidelio

Beethoven's Fidelio is an old friend. My heart is actually racing. As I write, they are singing the canon. You see, nothing less than absolute perfection will do.

It's a Singspiel, a trivial form intended for comedy, perhaps farce. There's nothing particularly original about Fidelio. It's a rescue opera, an idea that arose in opera comique around the time of the French revolution. It seems original to us because it's the only one we know.

We see German opera in relationship to Der Freischütz or Lohengrin, and are not prepared for this insignificant vessel. Beethoven has filled this simple pot with gold. He cannot help but overbalance it, but when did he not? That is, after all, what makes him Beethoven. For a moment give over sophistication and feel the passionate simple.  It is the never married Beethoven's hymn to married love. 

Claudio Abbado's name must precede everyone else's. Nowhere does a work so much depend on tempo and all the other pieces of a conductor's art. His touch is masterful.

There is simply nothing like it.  I don't cry this much for Mimi.

Love and praise to Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme and all the rest.  To do it right you must love it.  Thank you. It is a truly great Fidelio.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Endlich! :) I've circled it covetously at the Met shop, but am saving my pennies, so I'm very glad of your review. Interesting what you say about Beethoven's tendency to "overbalance" whatever form he was working in with the richness of his material. Thrilled to hear that Stemme, as well as Kaufmann, really "gets it." Abbado will be apotheosed someday.