Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Fidelio from the Royal Opera


Tobias Kratzer ....  Director
Antonio Pappano ... Conductor

Lise Davidsen .. Leonore
David Butt Philip ... Florestan
Simon Neal ... Don Pizarro
Georg Zeppenfeld ... Rocco
Amanda Forsythe ...Marzelline
Robin Tritschler ... Jaquino
Egils Silins ... Don Fernando

I found access to Beethoven's Fidelio from the Royal Opera Covent Garden.  This was supposed to include Jonas Kaufmann, but he dropped out, as usual.  I am feeling I need to discuss him, but not here.  Remember, I first saw him in Fidelio in Zurich.

I didn't realize Lise Davidsen was so tall.  The guys are her size, which makes her believable as a man.  She makes this performance.  Her rendition of the big aria gives me shivers.  The staging is a distraction.

For me the saddest thing about the pandemic is the absence of all the planned Fidelios.  It's one of my favorite operas.  Die Liebe wirt's erreichen.  I love it because he loved it.  You can feel it.  Beethoven would never have spent so much time on something if he didn't love it.  It's a new style of opera with heavier voices.  Die Liebe wirt's erreichen.

In modern day stagings operas that come with spoken dialog frequently get their dialog rewritten to suit the director's whim.  That has happened here.  Marzelline learns the truth about Fidelio much sooner than usual.  For me the worst offense was the Fidelio from Salzburg where there were sound effects instead of talk.  At least they say understandable things.

Marzelline has a black eye in this production.  Jaquino seems always angry, so perhaps he has punched her.  There's no hint that they will get back together.

Our Florestan is chained to a rock in a well lit room where he is surrounded by men and women watching him.  He expects to meet Leonore in heaven.  I imagine that Jonas would have been rather different.  The staging of the ending is a bit muddled.  There is no scene change before the celebration. When they sing "O namenlose Freude," you feel it. 

This is a great role for Lise.  She should sing it all over.

Here's a sample. Ignore the staging.

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