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1990 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where Ludwig van
Beethoven's Fidelio was seen in the production of the Théâtre de
la Monnaie in Brussels. London's press agreed it was honestly
staged, outstandingly cast and sensitively directed by Christoph
von Dohnányi. The singing and artistic achievements of Gabriela Benacková as Leonore and of Josef Protschka as
Florestan were singled out, but the accomplishments of the other interpreters
were equally good. The stage set and costumes by Margit Bardy were based on traditional models. Adolf Dresens, who
was also responsible for reworking the dialogue, put an enchanting and mature production on the stage: the triumph
of love is depicted in all its natural simplicity.
Top Customer Reviews
The audio is very good; both PCM Stereo and Dolby 5.1 options are available; thanks mainly to the conductor (Christoph Von Dohnanyi). The video is clear and crisp.
Generally, stage presentations of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden are second only to the Metropolitan's; the less lavish budgets of the former, may account for this. The set lighting for this Fidelio is bright, and the backdrops appealing.
Then why not five stars?
It has become standard for DVD operatic presentations to come with no libretto, so I cannot complain about this. But all the packaging gives are the names of the singers. Some of these singer's voices and faces will not be at all familiar to most of us, so it is very confusing at first, to try and identify the singers and the parts they are portraying. Especially so, when, early on, one of the male looking singers, Fidelio (aka Leonore), is clearly a woman (she is - see below), and another woman (Marzelline) is in love with him (her) to the delight of the latter's (Marzelline's) father (Rocco). Confusing isn't it!Read more ›
became the source for which I learned the opera inside and
out. FIDELIO is a great opera. Full of Beethoven's heart
and soul, about tenacity, loyalty, love, courage and
steadfast devotion. I do not see the "faults" that have
been leveled against it. By the time of that final chorus,
I'm swept away in its soaring emotionalism.
I saw the Mattila MET telecast. A fine performance by the
soprano, involved and committed, but I do not feel it is
right for her voice. She certainly has the highs, but not
the lows, and the color of the timbre does not seem to be
right for the richness of Leonore's vocal persona.
What makes the 1991 Covent Garden performance so special
for me: Gabriela Benackova's Leonore. It was held in many
of the reviews of the initial LaserDisc & VHS release by
many critics that she lacked the intensity of Soderstrom
and some of the past exponents of the role, but I disagreed
heartily after the very multiple viewings I took in.
No, Benackova struck me as being deeply sincere, touching,
and dignified. No overdone histrionics here: as a result,
her traversal of the music is about the best sung, most
accurately handled to my ears. I heard most of the major
recordings - Ludwig (committed, but stretched at the top),
Nilsson (not enough warmth) Rysanek (uneven throughout the
range) Jones (squally) Janowitz (glacial) ~~~ the recent
ones I haven't heard.
Benackova's rich, warm tone is ideally suited to the score,
and she uses her voice with unfailing, consummate skill.Read more ›
Visual direction is superior, but there's no supplementary material; information on the covers is deficient.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unlike many reviewers I found Benackova totally inappropriate. She waddles around like a goose when she is not standing still like a tree stump. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Chris Nicholls
There are a number of really fine DVDs of Fidelio available these days. Among those are the Met's version with Mattila and Heppner Beethoven - Fidelio / Levine, Mattila, Heppner,... Read morePublished on August 17, 2009 by J Scott Morrison
Fidelio is a difficult opera to perform, both for the orchestra and the actors. I've watched a few on DVD and this is my favorite performance. Read morePublished on July 1, 2009 by Gadgester
Other reviewers have covered various aspects of this fine production. A wonderful treat by Beethoven, he might have gone far had he stuck with opera, is given appropriate impact by... Read morePublished on November 30, 2008 by drkhimxz
This is a solid performance that provides a decent idea of what this opera is like. The singing is uniformly good and Beethoven's stirring score provides it share of goosebumps. Read morePublished on April 16, 2003
Good, not great. For one thing, the dialogue is kinky. How could any producer of "Fidelio" omit that wonderful exchange: when Florestan tells his wife how much she's done... Read morePublished on December 24, 2001
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