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CHAN 3123M
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Opera In English Logo
CHAN 3123
(multiple CD Set)

Beethoven: Opera - 'Fidelio'

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2005

Originally recorded in 2004

Artists:

Philharmonia Orchestra


David Parry


Christopher Purves

bass - Don Fernando & Second prisoner

Robert Lloyd

bass -Rocco

Pavlo Hunka

bass-baritone - Don Pizarro

Christine Brewer

soprano - Leonora

Rebecca Evans

soprano - Marzellina

Ashley Catling

tenor - First prisoner

Richard Margison

tenor - Florestan

Peter Wedd

tenor - Jaquino

Venue:

Blackheath Halls, London



Producer:

Brian Couzens



Engineer:

Ralph Couzens


Michael Common

(Assistant)

John Benton

(Assistant)

Record Label
Opera In English

Genre:

Vocal & Song


Opera in English

Total Time - 110:52
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LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

(1770-1827)
   
   
 

Fidelio

111:00  
  Opera in two acts  
  Libretto by Joseph von Sonnleithner,with revisions by Stephan von Breuning and Georg Treitschke, after Jean-Nicolas Bouilly's Léonore, ou L'amour conjugal  
  English translation by David Pountney  
1 Overture 6:31
   
  Act I  
  Scene 1  
2 No. 1 Duet: 'These people could drive you berserk' 4:55
  Jaquino, Marzellina, Rocco  
3 No. 2 Aria: 'If only we could marry today' 4:31
  Marzellina, Rocco, Leonora  
4 No. 3 Quartet: 'A wonder, clear and pure' 4:34
  Marzellina, Leonora, Rocco, Jaquino  
5 No. 4 Aria: 'If you don't save up your money' 3:35
  Rocco, Leonora, Marzellina  
6 No. 5 Trio: 'Good, that's the stuff!. . .' 5:51
  Rocco, Leonora, Marzellina  
   
  Scene 2  
7 No. 6 March - 1:45
  Dialogue: 'This handwriting seems familiar'  
  Pizarro  
8 No. 7 Aria with choir: 'Ah! This is ecstasy!' 3:24
  Pizarro, Chorus of sentries  
9 No. 8 Duet: 'Now, Warder, listen!' 5:20
  Pizarro, Rocco  
10 No. 9 Recitative and Aria: 'Vile murderer! Sadistic swine!' 1:56
11 'Come hope, you faint and distant star' 5:12
  Leonora  
12 Dialogue: 'But Marzellina. . .' 0:45
  Jaquino, Marzellina, Rocco, Leonora  
13 No. 10 Finale: 'Oh, what delight to breathe the air' 7:38
  Chorus, First prisoner, Second prisoner  
14 'What did he say?' 2:20
  Leonora, Rocco  
15 'Let's down to work, for time is pressing' 2:36
  Rocco, Leonora  
16 'Oh father, do be quick!' 0:41
  Marzellina, Rocco, Jaquino, Leonora  
17 'Presumptuous idiot, who are you to take such a liberty' 1:43
  Pizarro, Rocco  
18 'Farewell, the warm and radiant light' 4:19
  Chorus of Prisoners, Marzellina, Leonora, Jaquino, Pizarro, Rocco  
   
  Act II  
  Scene 1  
19 No. 11 Introduction and Aria: Introduction 3:14
20 Aria: 'God! The darkest hours' 1:51
21 'In the spring of youthful promise' 4:52
  Florestan  
22 No. 12 Melodrama and Duet: 'How cold it is in these dungeons' 1:51
  Leonora, Rocco  
23 'Now bend your back, let's see you working' 5:00
  Rocco, Leonora, Florestan  
24 No. 13 Trio: 'In a better world, they surely shall applaud you' 6:13
  Florestan, Rocco, Leonora, Pizarro  
25 No. 14 Quartet: 'You perish!' 4:44
  Pizarro, Florestan, Leonora, Rocco, Jaquino  
26 No. 15 Duet: 'Oh joy beyond all understanding' 2:48
  Leonora, Florestan  
   
  Scene 2  
27 No. 16 Finale: 'Hear! Hear! Hear how the world wildly rejoices' 2:03
  Chorus of People  
28 'My noble sovereign's will and order' 4:09
  Fernando, Chorus of people and prisoners, Rocco, Pizzaro, Leonora, Marzellina  
29 'Oh God, oh God, what ecstasy!' 2:52
  Chorus, Leonora, Marzellina, Florestan, Fernando, Rocco  
30 'Let our voices tell the story' 3:39
  Chorus, Florestan, Leonora, Rocco, Marzellina, Jaquino, Fernando  
   
 Robert Lloyd bass -Rocco
 Rebecca Evans soprano - Marzellina
 Peter Wedd tenor - Jaquino
 Pavlo Hunka bass-baritone - Don Pizarro
 Christopher Purves bass - Don Fernando & Second prisoner
 Richard Margison tenor - Florestan
 Christine Brewer soprano - Leonora
 Ashley Catling tenor - First prisoner
 David Parry
  21-25 August 2004  
The reputation of Chandos’ Opera in English label grows apace. Such is the respect the label has earned that it is now able to command some of the greatest international singers of our day. On this release of Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera, the role of Leonora is taken by Christine Brewer, of whose voice The Guardian wrote: ‘quite simply, one of the greatest in the world’. Rebecca Evans, who appeared to such acclaim on the recent recording of The Magic Flute, takes the role of Marzellina, and Florestan is played by Canadian tenor Richard Margison, who makes his Chandos debut with this recording, and who appeared as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos last autumn to such acclaim at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Christine Brewer will be performing the role of Leonora at San Francisco Opera from 12 October to 27 November 2005.

"Of Fidelio, Beethoven said:
‘Of all my children, the one that cost me the worst birth-pangs, the one that brought me the most sorrow; and for that reason it is the one most dear to me. Before all the others I hold worthy of being preserved and used for the science of art.’
When we look at the work’s tortuous compositional process, the reason for this statement becomes apparent. No wonder the opera was Beethoven’s sole contribution to the genre: Fidelio took ten years to compose and was re-written twice. Miraculously, this great piece shows no signs of its troubled inception: it is as consistent a work of genius as any of his major scores.

Few operas have such a clear political bias – the victory of liberalism over unjust reactionary tyranny – or a closer identification with a specific historical event – the fall of the Bastille in the first French Revolution of 1789 – but it is a surprise to read that the libretto was based loosely on a real-life rescue story in which an imprisoned aristocrat was rescued by left-wing revolutionaries.

The opera is based on a story by Jean Nicholas Bouilly, a lawyer and judge in the service of various French administrations both before and during the Revolution. While an administrator in Touraine in the 1790s, he claimed to have assisted Madame de La Valette, a noblewoman, in her attempts to save her aristocratic husband from the guillotine.The events, he said, inspired the drama of Léonore, a story detailing a wife’s unsinkable loyalty to an unjustly imprisoned husband.Throughout his life, Beethoven sought to express, through his music, his faith in the goodness of humanity and his belief in the ultimate victory of good over evil. More than anything else he ever wrote, Fidelio encapsulates that credo.
"

The cast is a strong one, with commanding performances from Christine Brewer and Robert Lloyd, as Leonora and the jailer Rocco, and a vivacious Marzellina from Rebecca Evans… But if you want the opera in English this new version, sympathetically and intelligently conducted by David Parry, is impressive.
BBC Music Magazine

Christine Brewer is so much in command, and in such splendid voice, that there is no doubt that it is Vanessas story.
Gramophone on CHSA 5032 (Samuel Barber’s Vanessa)

The lovely, warm soprano of Rebecca Evans shines as Susanna… she captures the right feeling of sensuality of a woman awaiting her lover on her wedding night…
Classic FM Magazine ‘Disc of the Month’ on CHAN 3113(3) (Figaro)

Rebecca Evanss Ilia is all one expects from this lovely soprano, the voice pure, intonation secure and musicianship impeccable…
The Sunday Telegraph on CHAN 3103(2) (Idomeneo)

Abetted by superbly responsive playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra, David Parry paces the opera shrewdly, knows exactly when to ratchet up the tension, and rarely misses a trick with Beethoven’s wonderfully original orchestral strokes. The cast can hold its own against any modern ‘Fidelio’ Christine Brewer makes a moving heroine, fearlessly flinging out top Bs and B flats, but softening the bright blade of her soprano in the expression of tenderness and pathos… Capping the performance is the magnificent singing of the chorus, who help to make the final hymn to freedom as Dionysian as you will hear.
The Telegraph ‘Classical CD of the week’

David Parry draws some tremendous playing fomr the Philharmonia on this disc: thrilling horn calls, wind sounds that can caress the ear or terrify the heart, string playing that throbs with energy – and all at the service of drama.
Classic FM

This recording is more successful than several others in meeting the work’s challenges. It is sung in David Pountney’s excellent translation, which strikes a happy medium between modern vernacular and stilted period-speak in the dialogue. David Parry conducts a powerful interpretation and the Philharmonia plays superbly, with the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir in good voice as prisoners and populace.
Sunday Telegraph

The recording is spacious in the familiar Chandos mode, and there’s a good booklet note from Mike Ashman. As a whole, if you want the work in the vernacular, this set has much to offer in terms of accomplished and dedicated singing.
Gramophone



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