6 Aug 2017


From Opera on Sunday

Sunday 6 August at 6.00pm on RNZ Concert

Bust of Beethoven

Bust of Beethoven Photo: Hugo Hagen, Public Domain

BBC Proms 2017


Beethoven’s only opera is a passionate musical protest against political oppression which premièred in the wake of the French Revolution.

A powerful tale of political oppression and female heroism, the work is the most famous example of the 18th-century ‘rescue opera’, which often featured a virtuous protagonist, saved from injustice and brutality

Fidelio was initially not well received, but its themes of liberty, justice and the triumph of the human spirit did resonate with audiences and the revised 1814 version was a great success and has been popular ever since.

As the opera opens, Florestan has been abducted and illegally imprisoned by Don Pizarro, Governor of the State Prison, whose arbitrary abuses of power Florestan had been trying to expose. His wife Leonore has disguised herself as a man and, under the name of Fidelio, has found work as assistant to Rocco, head jailer at the prison.


Stuart Skelton - Florestan

Ricarda Merbeth - Leonore

Brindley Sherratt - Rocco

Louise Alder - Marzelline

Benjamin Hulett - Jaquino

Detlef Roth - Don Pizarro

David Soar - Don Fernando

Orfeón Donostiarra

BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena

(recorded by the BBC, Royal Albert Hall, London)


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