Opera in two acts
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven · Libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner after the amendments by Georg Friedrich Treitschke after Jean-Nicolas Bouilly's libretto "Léonore, ou L'Amour conjugal"
In German with German surtitles
Dates & Tickets
Cast for all dates
- Musikalische Leitung
- Kirill Petrenko
- Calixto Bieito
- Rebecca Ringst
- Ingo Krügler
- Reinhard Traub
- Choreographische Mitarbeit
- Heidi Aemisegger
- Andrea Schönhofer
- Sören Eckhoff
- Don Fernando
- Tareq Nazmi
- Don Pizarro
- Wolfgang Koch
- Jonas Kaufmann
- Anja Kampe
- Günther Groissböck
- Hanna-Elisabeth Müller
- Dean Power
- 1. Gefangener
- Caspar Singh
- 2. Gefangener
- Oleg Davydov
- Bayerisches Staatsorchester
- Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
Dressed as a man and calling herself “Fidelio”, Leonore surreptitiously gains the confidence of the jailer Rocco and his daughter Marzelline, thus gaining access to the high security tract where her husband Florestan has been despotically incarcerated by Don Pizarro. Florestan is in mortal danger, but this does not intimidate his wife, who is determined to liberate him. Finally, however, the two of them can only be rescued by an emissary from the monarch. At the end, a Utopia in the form of a final chorus sets the stage aglow, not only as a plea for freedom and justice, but also concurrently as a condemnation of the anxieties and restrictions of human existence.
Beethoven had several plans for operatic compositions, but he only managed to realize one of these projects: in a decades-long process of creativity and rewriting, inspired by a French work entitled Léonore or Marital Loyalty by composer Pierre Gaveaux and librettist Jean Nicolas Bouilly, which was in turn based on a real event from the epoch of the French Revolution, Beethoven crafted his only opera, Fidelio – a musical cross-over between a light opera and a grandiose theatrical symphony.
Florestan has disappeared. Leonore, his wife, is searching for him. She wants to rescue him. Pizarro, his enemy, has been persecuting him. He wants to kill Florestan.
Leonore suspects that her husband, Florestan, is being held prisoner by Pizarro in his fortress.
She alters her identity and, calling herself Fidelio, gets a job as an assistant to Rocco, who is the chief jailer in Pizarro’s prison.
Marzelline, Rocco’s daughter, has fallen in love with Fidelio. Jaquino, who also works for Rocco, is in love with Marzelline, but she now finds his affection a nuisance and would like to be rid of him. Rocco is convinced that money, not only love, is necessary in order to find happiness in life. He sides with his daughter and encourages her in her hopes for a new romance. Marzelline already imagines the fulfillment of her dream: she will be happily married to Fidelio and spend her life at his side. Having won the confidence of father and daughter, Leonore also hopes that she is getting closer to her goal, namely to find Florestan. Jaquino’s hopes are dashed, however, and his world falls apart.
Pizarro’s superior, Fernando, plans to inspect the prison as he has heard that people are being held there illegally. Pizarro gets himself into the mood for his revenge: Florestan must be killed before Fernando arrives and Rocco is given instructions to carry out the task – for which he will, of course, be generously rewarded. Rocco refuses to murder Florestan but, mindful of his duty, he agrees to assist Pizarro when the latter orders him to help him to carry out the murder himself.
Leonore, who has overheard the conversation between Pizarro and Rocco, is now determined to do whatever is necessary to rescue her husband. She allows the prisoners to go out into the prison yard for air but cannot find Florestan among them when she scans their desperate faces, so she persuades Rocco to allow her to accompany him down into the dungeons, where she suspects Florestan is being held.
Pizarro angrily gives orders for the prisoners to be returned to their cells. Rocco steps in front of Marzelline and Leonore to protect them. Mindful of the plot to get rid of Florestan, Pizarro does not punish Rocco for disobeying orders.
Florestan bemoans his fate. Just as if he were hallucinating, he has a vision of Leonore as an angel coming to his rescue.
Rocco and Fidelio make their way down to Florestan’s dungeon and begin with the preparations for his murder. Horrified and yet filled with hope at the same time, Leonore recognizes her husband. Pizarro appears to kill Florestan. Fidelio succeeds in preventing the murder at the last moment by stepping between the prisoner and Pizarro and revealing herself as Florestan’s wife, just as a trumpet call rings out to announce the arrival of Fernando.
Justice has been established and there is rejoicing. Fernando, who had believed that his friend Florestan was dead, sets him and all the other prisoners free and Pizarro is punished.
Kirill Petrenko was born in Omsk in 1972 where he studied piano at the College of Music. At the age of eleven he gave his first public performance as a pianist with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 his family (his father a violinist and his mother a musicologist) relocated to Vorarlberg where his father worked as an orchestra musician and music teacher. Petrenko first continued his studies in Feldkirch before moving to Vienna to study conducting at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts.
His first job after graduation took him directly to the Vienna Volksoper where he was hired by Nikolaus Bachler as Kapellmeister. From 1999 until 2002 Kirill Petrenko was General Music Director at the Meininger Theater. It was in 2001 in his role as conductor of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, in the production by Christine Mielitz and with scenery by Alfred Hrdlicka, that he first achieved international acclaim. In 2002 Kirill Petrenko became General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin where, until 2007, he was credited with a series of highly significant productions.
During his time in Meiningen and Berlin his international career also began to flourish. In 2000 Kirill Petrenko made his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in 2001 at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Dresden Semperoper, in 2003 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Metropolitan Opera and in 2005 at the Oper Frankfurt. In Lyon, in collaboration with Peter Stein, he conducted all three Pushkin-inspired operas by Tchaikovsky (Mazeppa, Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame) from 2006 until 2008, which were also performed as a cycle in early 2010.
After moving on from the Komische Oper Berlin Kirill Petrenko worked as a freelance conductor. During this period his projects included conducting a new production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (Production: Barbara Frey) at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2009. In Frankfurt he conducted Pfitzner's Palestrina (Production: Harry Kupfer) and Puccini's Tosca (Production: Andreas Kriegenburg). In 2011 he worked on two new productions of Tristan and Isolde at the Opéra National de Lyon and at the Ruhrtriennale.
To date, the most important orchestras Kirill Petrenko has been invited to conduct include the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the BR Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerische Staatsorchester, the WDR Cologne Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Kirill Petrenko has also conducted concerts at the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. From 2013 to 2015 he swung his baton for the new production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen during the Bayreuth Festival.
Since September 2013 Kirill Petrenko has been General Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He will be working in this position until the end of the 2019/20 season. Since 2013, he has taken to the rostrum for premieres of Die Frau ohne Schatten, La clemenza di Tito, Die Soldaten, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lulu, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District and Tannhäuser as well as the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s South Pole and a revival of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen among other works. In June 2015, Kirill Petrenko was named future Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, starting this position in autumn 2019.
In the current season at the Bayerische Staatsoper Kirill Petrenko led an new production of Verdi's Otello and Strauss' Salome. Furthermore, Kirill Petrenko conducts revivals of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fidelio, and Parsifal as well as two Academy Concerts with the Bayerische Staatsorchester.