Among the dozens of works by Beethoven, there is only one opera: Fidelio, the tale of how Leonore rescues her husband from a Spanish prison
Newstaging of the 1806 version of Fidelio (sometimes titled “Leonore”)
- Premiere on Mar 16, 2020, performances on Mar 18, 20, 23, 25, and 27
- Also features the Wiener Symphoniker and the Arnold Schoenberg
choir, conducted by Manfred Honeck
- See also: Beethoven 2020 events
The Fidelio performances
Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, has a checkered history. Three versions are recognised, as Beethoven and others fine-tuned the music and libretto. Mind you, that’s one way of squeezing three premieres out of a single opera.
The 2-act second version from 1806 forms the basis of this special production, held at the Theater an der Wien opera house as part of the celebrations around Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
This is no ordinary staging of Fidelio, though. There is the added resonance of returning to the location where the opera was first performed in 1805. There is the auspicious Beethoven anniversary. And there are some top names involved.
First and foremost, Christoph Waltz will direct.
You’ll know the Vienna-born Waltz from his Oscar-winning performances in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Do not, however, expect to see the chorus cry “That’s a bingo” when Leonore unchains Florestan at the end of the opera. Because what you might not know is that Waltz is also an accomplished film and opera director.
Waltz’s movie, Georgetown, in which he also stars alongside Vanessa Redgrave, was in post-production at the time of writing. And he has directed two operas previous to Fidelio: Der Rosenkavalier and Falstaff.
Christoph Waltz is not the only famous name involved. Manfred Honeck will conduct the prestigious Wiener Symphoniker (Vienna Symphony Orchestra) and Arnold Schoenberg choir for the production. The International Classical Music Awards named Honeck Artist of the Year in 2018, and he is the long-serving musical director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Dates and tickets
The premiere is on Monday, March 16th, 2020, with subsequent performances on the 18th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, and 27th of the month.
Tickets will presumably be available through the usual agencies and the opera house itself. At the time of writing, the only information I have is that you can preorder tickets by email – email@example.com – for the five post-premiere performances, and “will then be contacted in February 2019 with further details”.
Theater an der Wien
One of Vienna’s three great opera venues, Theater an der Wien has a close association with Beethoven. As the in-house composer, he lived on the premises in 1803 and 1804, and the first two versions of Fidelio premiered there.
The opera house has various projects planned as part of its 2020 “Beethovenfest”, with the Waltz-directed Fidelio the flagship event.
How to get there
Theater an der Wien is a short walk from a major subway station (“Karlsplatz”) on the U1, U2 and U4 lines; take the exit marked Secession from the station. Other nearby subway stations are “Kettenbrückengasse” on the U4 and “Museumsquartier” on the U2.
The bus 59A stops at “Bärenmühldurchgang”, which is also close by.
Address: Linke Wienzeile 6, 1060 Vienna | Website