Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by 86books
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: snapcase is vg; DVD remains in excellent condition and looks as if it has rarely been played; NTSC Region 1 formatting for playback in the US & Canada; because we care that your order arrives in the condition we have stated, everything will additionally be enclosed in a hard plastic shell for transport that can easily be removed upon receipt of your order
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Beethoven - Fidelio / Dohnanyi, Benackova, Protschka, Royal Opera House Covent Garden

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$20.82 $36.99
(Feb 20, 2001)
"Please retry"

Unlimited Streaming with Amazon Prime
Unlimited Streaming with Amazon Prime Start your 30-day free trial to stream thousands of movies & TV shows included with Prime. Start your free trial

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Composed during the Napoleonic era, Ludwig Van Beethoven's only opera is an inspired testament to humanity's constant quest for freedom. This critically praised Covent Garden production by Adolf Dresen is powerfully cast and moves at a compelling pace to convey the emotionally charged theme of love and liberty over the forces of evil and oppression. Directed by Christoph von Dohnanyi. 124 minutes.

Jaquino: Neill Archer
Marzelline: Marie McLaughlin
Rocco: Robert Lloyd
Leonore: Gabriela Benackova
Don Pizzaro: Monte Pederson
Florestan: Josef Protschka

Beethoven's lone opera had a troubled gestation, as its no fewer than four overtures suggest. The finished product, while obviously a work of genius, exposes its patchwork qualities even in the best of productions. Luckily, the 1991 staging by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is so lucid and intelligent that the opera--a forceful plea for freedom, even in the most severely dictatorial regimes--comes across as both a forceful drama and a thought-provoking message.

Stage director Adolf Dresen, together with set designer Margit Bardy and lighting designer Erich Falk, presents the characters (which on paper have a tendency to remain types) as fully human, their interactions made understandable and plausible not only by Beethoven's humanizing music but also the realistic period settings. Video director Derek Bailey has succeeded admirably at getting this across for the home viewer as well. Musically, this Fidelio is a whirlwind, with conductor Christoph von Dohnányi leading the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera Chorus in an energetic but never-too-fast performance (by the way, they perform the fourth overture); and the singers are topnotch vocally and dramatically. Soprano Gabriela Benacková makes an arresting, emotionally complex Leonore, and Josef Protschka as her imprisoned husband, Florestan, brings down the house with his impassioned aria at the beginning of Act II. --Kevin Filipski

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gabriela Benacková, Josef Protschka, Neill Archer, Marie McLaughlin, Robert Lloyd
  • Directors: Derek Bailey
  • Writers: Georg Friedrich Treitschke, Jean Nicolas Bouilly, Joseph Sonnleithner
  • Producers: Jane Seymour
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056N96
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,620 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beethoven - Fidelio / Dohnanyi, Benackova, Protschka, Royal Opera House Covent Garden" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is my seventh or eighth opera on DVD (I have over 250 operas on CD)and since I had never heard of the principal singers before, I was rather anxious when I bought it. However, the entire production is really quite glorious. It is everything a Fidelio should be in terms of voice, orchestra, scenery and visuals, and sound reproduction. This has been the only opera DVD I have purchased that I felt obliged to watch straight through (it got better and better) and then I watched it again the following day in its entirety. I haven't been able to give von Karajan's Don Giovanni a complete run through yet. So inspite of my not knowing the principals, I would very highly recommend this DVD to anyone. It is, in my opinion, a "must have".
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: DVD
All the elements are there for an enjoyable experience. Whilst not in the front line of operas, such as Aida, Rigoletto, Carmen and La Traviata, Beethoven's Fidelio is composed of music that is deeply satisfying. The story line, when you eventually figure this out (see below), is appealing, even in modern times. The singers are quite competent and photogenic, and sing with feeling and good stage presence. It is somewhat odd that a burly and healthy looking Joseph Protschka sings the part of Florestan, when he is supposed to have been some time in the dungeon, and on "half rations", but, hey, this is opera!
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?
Poor packaging!
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 ›
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: DVD
This performance

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 ›
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: DVD
Although we may be still in need of THE dvd Fidelio, this solid, reliable and competent ROH performance fills the void very well. Dohnanyi conducts the work in his usual objective, no-nonsense approach, yet projecting beautifully the melodic lines' essential nobility of spirit; he no doubt has the schooling and the feeling for that and finds in the ROH Orchestra a suitable and compliant vehicle for his wishes; they play outstandingly, mind you. He seems more preoccupied with reinforcing the work's architecture than in probing into the depths of beetovenian philosophy, however, and is well served by both the Covent Garden forces and Dresser's staging conception. Consequently, character projection advances beyond the sketchy and archetypical we usually and consensually blame on librettists Sonnleithner & Treitschke, and become more complex, a complexity to which contribute the intelligent singing of especially Benackova, Lloyd and Protschka (but why, according to Dresser, Pizarro surrenders the keys to the penal colony and simply walks away instead of being made prisoner himself is beyond me). As is rather customary today, there's no Leonore III inserted before the final scene.

Visual direction is superior, but there's no supplementary material; information on the covers is deficient.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?