Ludwig Von Beethoven wrote only one opera, Fidelio. The story was written by a French lawyer and writer who claimed the plot was based on an actual event of a woman taking enormous risks to liberate her husband who is being held as a political prisoner.
In the opera, she disguises herself as a boy to gain employment with the prison warden and eventually orchestrate her husband’s escape. The first performance of this revolutionary opera took place in 1805. It was also the first opera to be performed in Berlin after the end of World War II. This week, Fidelio will be performed in Atlanta’s Symphony Hall. Music Director Robert Spano spoke with Lois Reitzes about their upcoming performance of Beethoven’s only opera.
Spano explained the ASO’s presentation of an operatic piece, “We’ve been exploring the theatricality of works that are not opera. We staged the Bach Passions and the Hadyn Creation.
In a way, it was a natural avenue to pursue to present opera as we are exploring the theatricality of a concert. The thing about opera is that it is so wonderful for the orchestra to play this repertoire and I think it is wonderful for the audience to experience the repertoire in a way that I believe is different than if it is happening in a real opera company.
The other thing that I think is so important is connecting to the human voice. Since we have such a miraculous chorus, we are always reminded of the connection of all the music we do to singing, to dancing.” Fidelio will be presented in a non-theatrical way with the narrative projected on screen during the performance.
Atlanta Symphony Music Director Robert Spano will conduct the Orchestra and Chorus with guest soloists in Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio June 6 and 8 at 8 p.m. at the Woodruff Arts Center. On June 6, there will be a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. by ASO Insider and Program Annotator Ken Meltzer.