The year 2020 will be bursting at the seams with works by Beethoven, as London and the rest of the musical world marks 250 years since the composer's birth in Bonn.
Alongside the many performances of the prolific and innovative composer's works there will be several productions of his only opera. Fidelio. And the new staging at the Royal Opera House looks certain to make its mark even in this crowded field, with its star cast and team.
Royal Opera House music director Sir Antonio Pappano conducts, Kaufmann sings Florestan, the political prisoner, and the outstanding Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen is Eleonore, the woman who braves all to save him.
Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen sings the brave Leonore in Fidelio at Covent Garden. Photo: Ray Burmiston
Written at a time of great political and social upheaval, Fidelio has had topical resonances for every generation since its first performance in Vienna in 1805. Its searing insights into abuses of power, principled action and personal loss are never out of fashion, and this new production is sure to reflect today's fractious world.
The opera is also forward-looking in its treatment of the female lead as the main protagonist, rather than a victim of her time or circumstances. When Florestan in imprisoned, it is Leonore who takes the initiative.
Listen out for the Prisoners' Chorus, sung when the encarcerated are finally liberated to the dazzling light of the world outside their terrible jail, the music also wonderfully illustrating the darkness of ignorance contrasting with the glow of vision and enlightenment.
Fidelio is sung in German with English surtitles. Performances are on 1 March at 3PM; 3, 6, 9, 13, 17 March at 7:30PM. Booking opens 9AM, Wed 24 Oct. There are live cinema screenings across London and worldwide on 17 March: click here for details.
|What||Fidelio, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
01 Mar 20 – 17 Mar 20, six performances, times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|