A historical production
of Beethoven's 'Fidelio' -
'... Beethoven is free to tell an unvarnished tale ...'
Forty years on, and my tears still flow throughout Fidelio. I had a cold while watching this DVD,
so I could snuffle into a handkerchief lest my companion imagined all my critical faculties had been wiped
away with the tears. The first question to ask of any operatic DVD is when the performance took place.
The more recent, the more nonsensical will be the production. So it is cause for relief and gratitude that
this Hamburg Fidelio is all but forty years on. The sound is mono, the colour wavers occasionally,
and the magnificent cast of singers mimes to the pre-recorded performance. We are deprived of Rocco's 'Gold'
aria and the dialogue is sensibly cut; otherwise Beethoven is free to tell an unvarnished tale that moved
him to the depths.
Marcellina (Lucia Popp) and Jacquino (Erwin Wohlfahrt). DVD screenshot © 2007 Arthaus Musik GmbH
Copyright © 31 July 2007
Robert Anderson, London UK