Beethoven: Fidelio - 1805 Version / Nylund, Streit, de Billy, ORF Radio Symphony Vienna

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REVIEWS:"All Fidelio and Beethoven fans will need this."As most opera lovers know, Beethoven toiled greatly over his sole opera which was premiered in 1805 and...


"All Fidelio and Beethoven fans will need this."

As most opera lovers know, Beethoven toiled greatly over his sole opera which was premiered in 1805 and revised in 1806--and then finally again in 1814, in the version that is now famous and beloved. The recording under consideration here is of the first version; this is the third time it has been recorded commercially.

Listening to this an ear-opener: much music was eventually used in the familiar 1814 version, but even within those many pages there are small alterations everywhere and they're great fun to spot.

The performance is excellent, indeed marginally better than [the recording by John Eliot] Gardiner. It's as tightly led in exciting passages but Bertrand de Billy also captures some rapturous stillness and warmth in "Mir ist so wunderbar" and elsewhere, while Gardiner seems a bit clinical. De Billy also has slightly better singers. Camilla Nyland's sound is grander than Hillevi Martinpelto, and her reading of the text is deeper; Kim Begley and Kurt Streit are vocally both fine, but Streit's sweetness and goodness make a better case for Florestan. Peter Rose's understated Rocco is never mugged, and while I prefer a heavier voice than Gerd Gochowski's as Pizarro, his ease with the vocal line is a pleasure to hear. Dietmar Kerschbaum's Jaquino never cloys and Brigitte Geller's Marzelline is beautifully sung. De Billy gets thrilling playing from the Vienna Radio Symphony--the scoring in this version of the opera is very horn-heavy and generally heftier than the 1814--and I have a preference for ORF's non-period instruments here. The Arnold Schoenberg Choir sings with accuracy and feeling. All Fidelio and Beethoven fans will need this.


Product Description:

  • Release Date: November 16, 2010

  • UPC: 4260034869196

  • Catalog Number: OC919

  • Label: Oehms Classics

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Period: "Classical"

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Conductor: Bertrand de Billy

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

  • Performer: Camilla Nylund, Kurt Streit, Peter Rose, Gerd Grochowski, Briggite Geller, Dietmar Kirschbaum, Ralf Lukas, Thomas Ebenstein, Markus Raab


  1. Fidelio, Op. 72a (with inserted texts by W. Jens)

    Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ensemble: Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Arnold Schoenberg Choir

    Performer: Kurt Streit, Camilla Nylund, Martin Schwab, Brigitte Geller, Peter Rose, Gerd Grochowski, Dietmar Kerschbaum

    Conductor: Bertrand de Billy