Beethoven: Fidelio Live
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However, Kaufmann is not the only glory of this set; Abbado's conducting is of the highest order: exceptionally sensitive, shaped and nuanced, drawing meltingly lovely playing from a combination of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Just listen to the soft playing of the horns accompanying Nina Stemme in "Komm, Hoffnung". Indeed there is a chamber-music-like intensity and detail in Abbado's direction; everything he does makes you listen afresh to the humanity of this opera yet he in no sense emulates the kind of majestic grandeur of Klemperer's classic recording. The Prisoners' Chorus, for example, is sung by a smaller onstage chorus than is normal and I miss the swelling exaltation of their hymn to the sunlight which Klemperer creates, but instead we get a very touching, intimate sense of their suffering.Read more ›
After a somewhat too meticulous but well played overture - why is this piece so hard for conductors and orchestras to get right? - we find ourselves entering the story without much energy. Unfortunately, Strehl's Jaquino shows not the slightest urgency, romance, or callow pique; he's the FedEx man delivering a parcel to Marzelline, and as sung by Rachel Harnisch, she is an emotional cipher, displaying neither acceptance nor rejection toward her unfortunate suitor. Here Abbado lapses into a familiar weakness in his opera conducting, forgoing passion for polish. How odd that Karajan is the one saddled, quite unjustly, with that reputation. His casting in these two roles, especially Helen Donath's Marzellinae, is fully up to the mark.Read more ›
Abbado's tempi are on the slow side, often losing forward momentum in the 'emotional' thrust of the moment, which isn't very thrustful at all.
Some of the singers do not seem entirely in-tune with what's going on, either in the production or perhaps with Abbado's very sometimes odd tempos. Dramatic involvement seems a contradiction in terms here. It is all rather superficial, more of a high class 'So You Think You Can Sing' show.
Nina Stemme has magnetism and a fine voice, though not exactly plagued with a wobble she has a warble that separates her from her great Swedish college, Birgit Nilsson's, Fidelio for Maazel. Stemme and Abbado seem slightly at odds with tempi at the start of her role. Stemme's big moments are well done but, again, something doesn't ring true. The first scene with Marzelline and Jaquino shows a slight tug of war, especially between Rachel Harnisch's nicely sung Marzelline and the pit. The tempo stretches and recedes like salt water taffy. Things settle down quickly as the performance moves along. Christoph Stehl's Jaquino is more mature than you usually hear, hardly the 'boy' he is supposed to be, almost a Florestan himself. The charm is missing between him and Harnisch.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Where to begin to praise this superb in every way version of Fidelio! This is the most thrilling version i have heard, especially of the final scene (track 8) with the 'heil'... Read morePublished 14 months ago by anonymous commentator
Beethoven is treated well here without blasting and distorting the sound between singers and orchestra . Abbado is in controlPublished on July 12, 2014 by Martin Drew
Loved it the first time I listened to this recording from the 2010 Lucerne Festival. A star cast in great form and Claudio Abbado conducting. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by jutta joines
I thought this was a DVD! The recording, however, is done with snesitivity and technical excellence of the entire cast. Nina Stemme is perfect for this role! Read morePublished on December 21, 2013 by Gisela Matsuda
One of the best, (if not the best) Fidelio recordings. Kaufmann and Stemme excel as do the other singers and orchestra. Highly recommended.Published on October 11, 2013 by Sandra B. Ireland
Most will agree that Kaufmann has a fabulous way of singing this role. I even had the opportunity to hear him live some weeks ago at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées,... Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Elizabeth