Monday 12th August
Fidelio was the only opera ever composed by the great musical genius Ludwig Von Beethoven, & as such was infused with two decades worth of improvements. Inspired by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly’s Leonore, the libretto was handled by at least three persons, & is based upon events in revolutionary France. It tells the story of Florestan, who is being kept prisoner by a a wicked governor named Pizarro, & of Leonore, Florestan’s wife, who is working in the prison disguised as a man.
This version of Fidelio, as presented by the Opera de Lyons, is a grandiose projection into the future is more ways than one. Imagine if Spielburg had turned Star Wars into an opera, & you’ll be close, with Don Pizarro as the Emperor & Luke Skywalker as Leonore. Sung in German, one is touched once more by that teutonic language’s complete genius for the art of opera. However, despite those three different hands, the libretto is unchallenging – yet embosomed at all times by a musical complexity that plucks the very lyre strings of the heart.
The most riveting part of the show, however, is the wonderful visual effects achieved on stage by the placing of see-thro white screens at the front & back of the stage, onto which futuristic images are repeatedly played. This provides the performance with a great 3d effect & the ability to create armies of robots marching about a majestic Pizarro.
A very fine production of a dearly loved opera, & tho traditionalists may scoff at the modernistic effects, Beethoven’s flurishing fancies are recreated with an acute prescision by both orchestra & singers. FOUR STARS
Reviewer – Damo Bullen