This live recording of Beethoven’s sole opera Fidelio is from
the 2010 Lucerne Festival, under the baton of Claudio Abbado.
Together with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Lucerne Festival
Orchestra the succeeds in contrasting dramatic impetus with
lyrical subtlety throughout the performance.
tenors are able to convey the conflicting suffering,
near-dementia and inextinguishable hope in Florestan’s
character, but Jonas Kaufmann produces a sound that is both
heroic and nuanced. Meanwhile, Nina Stemme’s Leonore is
rich and expressive, delivering a heartfelt aria but falling
short of joyous brilliance in her duet with Florestan. Falk
Struckmann sings a powerful Pizarro, perhaps lacking a bit of
snarl at times but successfully portraying an insecure despot
who is about to snap.
The supporting roles are sung well,
but not outstandingly so; they all lack a degree of dramatic
involvement. Beethoven’s sublime chorus writing provides the
Arnold Schoenberg Choir with plenty of opportunity to shine,
especially in the affecting Prisoners’ Chorus. The only major
weakness here is the spoken dialogue, which in some cases has
been abbreviated into monologue, the content of which is
dramatically incoherent and delivered unconvincingly by the