Information

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven

Sunday, 23. July 2006
07:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Nationaltheater

Duration est. 3 hours · 1 Interval between 1. Akt and 2. Akt (est. 08:25 pm - 08:55 pm )

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Cast

Musikalische Leitung
Zubin Mehta
Inszenierung und Bühne
Peter Mussbach
Kostüme
Andrea Schmidt-Futterer
Licht
Konrad Lindenberg
Chöre
Andrés Máspero

Don Fernando, Minister
Martin Gantner
Don Pizarro
Juha Uusitalo
Florestan
Peter Seiffert
Leonore
Waltraud Meier
Rocco
Matti Salminen
Marzelline
Aga Mikolaj
Jaquino
Kevin Conners
1. Gefangener
Kenneth Roberson
2. Gefangener
Steven Humes
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Beethoven's only opera! A hymn to aspiration and freedom: Florestan is a political prisoner hurled into in a dungeon. His wife Leonore disguises herself as a young man, assumes the name Fidelio and takes a job in the prison. Will she succeed in liberating her husband? High tension all the way to the last second. Then: a trumpet call! Liberation! Jubilation.

 

Act One

Don Pizarro, the despotic governor of a state prison near Seville, is in the habit of holding his political enemies prisoner at his mercy. One of these enemies is Don Florestan, who has publicly accused the governor of abusing the power of his position. Leonore, Florestan's wife, suspects that her husband is being held prisoner by Pizarro and so, disguised as a man and calling herself Fidelio, she gets a job as assistant to Rocco, the chief jailer.

Marzelline, Rocco's daughter, has fallen in love with Fidelio and rejects the suit of Jaquino, the jailer who has been courting her for years. Rocco also now seems to prefer the idea of Fidelio, who is much cleverer than the simple Jaquino, as a son-in-law and gives his approval of his daughter’s decision.

Pizarro receives an anonymous letter warning him that the King's minister, Don Fernando, plans to come and inspect the prison. It has come to his ears that political prisoners are being unlawfully held there. Pizarro immediately posts a trumpeter to keep watch and warn him of the minister's approach so that he has time to do away with Florestan before the minister arrives at the prison. Pizarro instructs Rocco to kill Florestan, but the latter refuses and the governor determines to do the job himself, ordering Rocco to dig a grave in Florestan's cell.

Leonore, who has overheard this conversation between Pizarro and Rocco, is determined to rescue Florestan; she plans to search for him among the prisoners and set him free. She pleads with Rocco to allow the prisoners to take exercise in the prison yard but is unable to discover her husband among them. She then persuades Rocco to take her with him into the dungeons, where the suspects Florestan is being held.

Pizzaro appears and angrily orders the prisoners to be hustled back to their cells but refrains from punishing Rocco for acting without orders because of the latter's involvement in the plot to murder Florestan.

Act Two

Florestan is bewailing his fate in a dungeon and on the verge of hallucination, so to speak, as he sees the image of Leonore in his mind's eye.

Rocco, followed by Leonore, comes in to dig the grave. Horrified, she recognises her husband. When Rocco gives the agreed signal, Pizarro arrives to kill Florestan. Leonore reveals herself as Florestan's wife and is able to prevent the murder by courageously stepping between her husband and Pizarro as he draws his dagger, just as the trumpeter gives the signal announcing the arrival of the minister.

Don Fernando, who has believed his friend Florestan dead, sets him and all the other prisoners free and Pizarro, the tyrant, is arrested to await his just punishment.

Translation: Susan Bollinger


© Bavarian State Opera

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Biographies

Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 and grew up in a musical family in his native Bombay. After first studying medicine for two semesters he concentrated on music in Hans Swarowsky's conducting class at the Vienna academy.

Zubin Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and was also a prize-winner at the Koussevitzky Competition in Tanglewood. By his mid-twenties he had already conducted both the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras and retains close ties with both.

Zubin Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 becoming Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, a post he retained until 1978. In 1969 he also became Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 he was made Music Director for life. Zubin Mehta has conducted nearly two thousand concert performances with this extraordinary ensemble on tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, the longest in the orchestra's history and, since 1985, he has been chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Zubin Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montreal in 1964. Since then he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, and the opera houses of Montreal, Chicago and Florence as well as at the Salzburg Festival.

Zubin Mehta's list of awards and honours is extensive and includes the "Nikisch-Ring" from the Vienna Philharmonic as well as having been made, in 2001, an honorary member of the orchestra. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997. In 1999 Zubin Mehta was presented the "Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award" of the United Nations by Lea Rabin. In April 2001 President Chirac created him "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur". In January 2004 the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra bestowed the title of "Honorary Conductor" on Zubin Mehta.

Zubin Mehta has been Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra from 1998 to 2006. Quite apart from his commitments and responsibilities for the musical leadership of new productions, repertory performances and concerts associated with this position, he has also led the State Orchestra on two major European tours and the whole opera company on tours to Japan.

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