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Beethoven, L. v. (1770-1827)


Fidelio






Composed 1804-1805; revised 1806, 1814.
First performed November 20, 1805; March 26, 1806; May 23, 1814.
Libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner and Georg Friedrich Treitschte (in German),
after Bouilly.




A Summary of gFidelioh



Act 1
In the 16th century, in Seville, Spain, the governor of the prison, Don Pizarro, puts Florestan into prison on a false charge. Florestan, who is a politician, attempted to expose Pizarrofs injustice. So, Pizarro confined Florestan in a dungeon.
Florestanfs wife, Leonore, tries to rescue him from the dungeon. She uses the male name, gFidelio,h and dresses in menfs clothes. And, she works as an errand boy of the jailer, Rocco. She works faithfully for two years, so she gains Roccofs confidence. Roccofs daughter, Marzelline, rejects her fatherfs assistant, Jacquino, who hopes to marry her. She hopes to marry gFidelio.h
Then, Pizarro heard that the Minister of Justice, Don Fernando, will come to the prison in order to inspect injustice of the prison. Pizarro decides to kill Florestan in secret.

Act 2
Pizarro orders the jailer, Rocco, to dig a grave, so Rocco orders Fidelio to help him. Fidelio has watched for an opportunity to rescue Florestan, and she only now notices that the physically and emotionally worn out man in the dungeon is her husband.
Pizarro appears in the dungeon. When he attempts to stab Florestan to death with a sword, Fidelio interrupts him. She discloses her true character, she is Florestanfs wife.
Then, the Minister of Justice, Don Fernando, arrives at the prison. He is pleased to meet his sworn friend, Florestan, again. He had thought that Florestan died. Pizarro is arrested by the Minister. Fidelio, that is, Leonore removes Florestanfs handcuffs. The Minister blesses Leonore and Florestan with love and justice.




A Comment on gFidelioh



The great composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, composed only one opera. It is the opera, gFidelio.h This opera is a pioneering opera from Germany. A characteristic of this opera is that it expresses Beethovenfs personality. For example, the main theme of this opera is justice and love between a wife and husband. This opera is far from a love affair or a laugh. For good or evil, Beethovenfs sober thought is expressed in gFidelio.h

Beethoven is good at composing symphonies, piano sonatas, and other instrumental music. Beethoven also composed a lot of songs that have natural melodies. However, he composed this opera based on of his instrumental music. So, it is difficult for singers to smoothly sing some of the melody lines in this opera. Both Florestanfs and Leonorefs arias are especially very difficult to sing. We can appreciate opera singersf mastery by listening to their arias.

Beethoven revised this opera three times, in addition to that, he rearranged the last scene ten times. Each successive change on deepened the richness of the content. The gLeonore overtureh like the intermezzo played in act 2 is Beethovenfs great music. You can enjoy the great masterfs music.





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