MIKE WHEELER reports on
Beethoven at the 2016 Buxton Festival
Beethoven famously had problems with not only finding an opera libretto to suit him, but making an effective opera out of the one he did manage to settle on. He eventually emerged, in 1814, with the work we know as Fidelio but, for its headline production, the 2016 Buxton Festival is giving an airing to Leonore, the first version, from 1805 (Opera House, Buxton, UK, 8 July 2016).
The familiar tale — Leonore's search for her missing husband, Florestan, involves disguising herself as a boy, 'Fidelio', and taking a menial job at the prison where she is sure he is being unjustly held — is told in three acts, instead of Fidelio's two, and includes some twenty minutes or so of music that Beethoven cut from the final version. As director Stephen Medcalf commented in the opening night pre-opera talk, the additional material alters our perception of what kind of opera this is...
Copyright © 15 July 2016