Fidelio is one of the more sombre entries in Beethoven's oeuvre.
Despite its uplifting conclusion, the composer regarded it
as his "child of sorrow"; although compared to the medium's
abundance of frivolous fairytales, it makes a welcome change to
find an opera rooted in human politics and emotions, whose
themes reflect the ethical concerns of the Enlightenment.
Claudio Abbado's presentation is expertly played and well-sung
by the principals, though Jonas Kaufmann's imperious entry as
the imprisoned Florestan at the start of Act Two does rather
render the preceding act an extended hour-plus preamble.