1. Beethoven: Fidelio / Davidsen, Pappano, Royal Opera House - ArkivMusic
  2. Beethoven: Fidelio / Davidsen, Pappano, Royal Opera House - ArkivMusic

Beethoven: Fidelio / Davidsen, Philip, Pappano, Royal Opera House Orchestra

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Beethoven’s only opera is a masterpiece, an uplifting story of risk and triumph. In this new production, conducted by Antonio Pappano, David Butt Philip plays the political prisoner Florestan, and Lise Davidsen his wife Leonore (disguised as ‘Fidelio’) who daringly sets out to rescue him. Set in strong counterpoint are the ingredients of domestic intrigue, determined love and the cruelty of an oppressive regime. The music is transcendent throughout, with highlights including the famous Act I Quartet, the Prisoners’ Chorus and Florestan’s aria, which conjures hope from the depths of despair. Tobias Kratzer’s new staging brings together the dark reality of the French Revolutionary ‘Terror’ and our own time to illuminate Fidelio’s inspiring message of shared humanity.


The strong cast is rightly dominated by the splendid Leonore of Lise Davidsen. For a start, she looks the part, being naturally quite tall, and she copes with the difficulties of the role with apparent ease. Her recitative and aria Abscheulicher… Komm, Hoffnung is beautifully done, with the tricky runs and leaps securely negotiated. David Butt Philip is a satisfactory replacement for Kaufmann, and his aria was moving, despite the awkwardness of the setting and his tendency to grimace. Georg Zeppenfeld acted and sang well as Rocco, and Simon Neal made the stage villain Pizarro really alarming. Of the smaller parts, really impressive was Amanda Forsythe’s affecting Marzelline. She appears with what looks like an incipient bruise on her face, the result of a row with Jaquino mimed during the overture, which I suppose adds to the motivation to prefer Fidelio. Her attempted seduction of the disguised Leonore and her appearance in the dungeon are presumably ideas of Kratzer, which she did her best with. The chorus was fine, the orchestra played well, especially the woodwind, and Pappano conducted with verve and commitment.

There are two brief extras, one with comments of the performers on the work and the other with pictures of them in role. The sound and vision are good; I was listening in ordinary stereo. The DVD is slightly difficult to navigate, with the scenes in the second act not appearing in the menu. But that is a small matter. This is worth seeing for the excellent performances, particularly Lise Davidsen’s Leonore, if you can cope with the problematic staging of the second act.

-- MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Release Date: January 28, 2022

  • Catalog Number: OA 1334D

  • UPC: 809478013341

  • Label: Opus Arte

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Classical

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Conductor: Antonio Pappano

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Opera House Orchestra, Royal Opera Chorus

  • Performer: Lise Davidsen, David Butt Philip, Robin Tritschler, Amanda Forsythe, Simon Neal, Egils Siliņš


  1. Fidelio

    Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ensemble: Royal Opera House Orchestra, Royal Opera Chorus

    Performer: Lise Davidsen (Soprano), David Butt Philip (Tenor), Robin Tritschler (Tenor), Amanda Forsythe (Soprano), Simon Neal (Baritone), Egils Siliņš (Bass-Baritone)

    Conductor: Antonio Pappano