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The Sunday Opera: Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fidelio"

We’re featuring the music of Ludwig van Beethoven on this week’s Sunday Opera (7/2 3:00 p.m.) beginning with his only opera “Fidelio” which premiered in 1814.

Our production comes from the Vienna State Opera and features Anja Kampe as Leonore, the heroine who disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate a Spanish prison in order to find her husband, Florestan (Brandon Jovanovich) a falsely accused political prisoner.

Leonore (as Fidelio) works for Rocco (Christof Fischesser), the jailer, in order to search for Floristan, but there is a problem. Rocco’s daughter, Marzelline (Slavka Zamecnikova), has fallen in love with “Fidelio” and is spurning the advances of Rocco’s assistant, Jaquinto (Daniel Jenz).

Leonore finally does make it into the dungeon where Floristan is to be killed on orders of the corrupt prison governor Don Pizarro (Jochen Schmeckenbecher) where she is to dig a grave with Rocco.

As the drama unfolds, Leonore and Pizarro have a showdown which is interrupted by the arrival of the king’s minister, Don Fernando (Martin Hassler) who announces that all of the political prisoners have been pardoned. Pizarro’s crimes come to light, and Leonore and Floristan are happily reunited.

The Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Axel Kober.

The afternoon will continue with two more works by Beethoven, both well-known. We’ll begin with his Symphony No. 9 in D minor, the first symphony written that included voices. Those voices include soloists Edda Moser, Rosemarie Lang, Peter Schrier, and Theo Adam who are joined by the Gewandhaus Children’s Chorus, the Thomaner Chorus of Leipzig, and the Liepzig Radio Chorus. Kurt Masur conducts the Gewandhausorchester, Leipzig.

Our final piece is Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10 in E flat which was titled the “Harp” by Beethoven’s publisher. This charming work will be performed by the Medici String Quartet.

Please join us for a glorious afternoon of music beginning this Sunday at 3:00.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.
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