Five Reasons To See....Fidelio (Opera North)Date: 13 May 2011
Steven Harrison, is currently performing as Florestan in Opera North's Fidelio which arrives at the Lowry next week. Here, he gives his five reasons to see Beethoven's only Opera.
1. Spectacular voices!
Giuseppe Verdi, in my opinion one of the great, if not the greatest composer ever of opera and voice once said “The three most important elements of opera are 1. Voice 2. Voice and 3 Voice!” And, we have them! This Fidelio is one of the most superlatively sung of which I have ever been privileged to take part. All voices, including soloists and chorus, are all spectacular. If you care about voice, then you must see this show!
2. Beethoven’s Only Opera.
Beethoven is a darn good reason to come see this opera. Fidelio is Beethoven’s only opera and a grand opus at that! In Germany, this and The Magic Flute are the two most often performed operas and you will soon see why. It is a magical work, filled with emotions, yet delivered in a dignified manner adhering to the very classical style in which it was written. Our Maestros, Sir Richard Armstrong and Peter Selwyn give a beautiful reading of the score and maintain the style and the integrity of the piece. As a young man I spent my days playing Beethoven sonatas on the piano and love the music of this man, one of my favorite composers.
3. An out of the ordinary heroine.
Leonore, the heroine, brings a unique female lead to the opera world. Straying from the tragic leading lady whose demise is devastation and death, Leonore is the driving force of the drama in this opera championing liberty and justice.
4. The Production.
Tim Albery’s production is a feast for the eyes, as well as my previous description of the aural stimulation you will surely experience.
5. The Story.
The story is immediately accessible to everyone. It is interesting, amazing, breathtaking, emotional, important, profound and timeless. The themes are love and freedom and if that is not captivating enough – here’s a little synopsis... A man goes missing. His wife dresses up as a man in order get a job in the prison where he is rumored to be held. She finds him there, held captive for two years, starved, kept in isolation and about to be killed. In a moment of sheer will, hope and after years of despair she sets him free. Good vs. Evil and good wins out. Time may heal all wounds, but in this opera, time wounds all heels!
Opera North's Fidelio is at the Lowry from 18 - 21 May.