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As usual, in addition to the Jury ratings we also conducted a survey into whether Jury members want to see this production again, would buy or recommend the disc and how they feel it compares with “being there”.
"Would you like to see this production again, on TV or in the cinema?"
NB: This Jury included at least 11 frequent opera-goers.
91% of them found this experience better than or comparable to a live performance.
“Fidelio” is Beethoven’s only opera, presented here in a superb new production from the Zurich Opera House conducted by Bernard Haitink For once, this production is (more or less) set in the original time and place with an excellent cast of singer-actors who being this very moving — and timeless — story to life…
This production received a rather mixed reception from the jury. Several comments were made about the subtitles and many felt the staging to be static. However, others were more enthusiastic while almost everyone greatly appreciated the music, the orchestral playing and particularly Bernard Haitink’s conducting. For most of the jury members, this was their first encounter with Beethoven’s only opera. Their opinion would, no doubt, be more positive if they were able to see it for a second time. (29% did say that they would like to). Almost all of those who did enjoy this production very much were already familiar with the work.
Read the synopsis here...
Lire l’argument en français ici...
Orchestra—excellent. Same with the chorus—very good. Subtitles — not very well translated. I felt that the first act was a little overlong.
I liked it because it was serious and political (oppression, freedom and liberty). A modern piece, And very pro-feminist. Plus some very good music. However, I didn’t like the translation of the English subtitles—much too literal. They didn’t look as if they had been done by a native speaker.
Beethoven may not have had a real vocation for writing opera — but this is unmistakably Beethoven! There are some sublime moments and all the performers were top rate. For me, this was an excellent production in every respect, and a splendid way of getting to know this important work.
I didn’t like the way the text was translated. The production was globally technically good and very professional, but was rather flat in the interpretation. The orchestra was very good.
The music is remarkable, brought out by the interpretation of the orchestra and the mastery of Bernard Haitink which left me speechless. On the other hand, I didn’t feel the staging was up to the musical “vibrations”.
Great voices (except possibly Pizarro). Great music. Marvellous orchestra. Beethoven on top of his music and able to give it full expression in a work of this length. It is really a shame he only wrote one opera. I also enjoyed the staging very much.
Overall impression of monotony, no doubt brought about by the actual opera itself rather than the production. Difficult to believe in the story and enter into the action.
I very much liked the final scene, but was not so sure about the set and the staging, which was, for me, too static.
I was quite happy with the traditional, straight production. Leonore seemed to struggle with some high notes. I found the acting a little stilted, but, all in all, I liked it.
I really enjoyed the two soprano voices, but felt that the men’s voices were less extraordinary. The orchestral moments were a great, great pleasure.
I didn’t like the staging at all—very old-fashioned and the acting was like something out of a silent movie. The subtitles were amusingly awful and kept shifting from the bottom of the picture to the top in a most disconcerting way.
I particularly appreciated the music and the conductor, as well as the voices of the women (especially Leonore). I liked the tenor (Florestan) rather less. The staging was very good and it was altogether a beautiful show.
All the voices were magnificent but, in my opinion, that of Florestan was less powerful.
Surprisingly modern for 1810!
Fantastic orchestra and music. But I found the opera a little lacklustre.
Singing / performance: B -
HDVD production: B+
Overall ranking: B -