Fidelio is not one of my favourite operas of all time, but the music is wonderful(as it always is with Beethoven) and the story and characters are just as good. This Glyndebourne isn't quite my first choice, the 1970 performance with Jones, King and Talvela, the 1978 performance with Kollo, Sotin and Janowitz and the 2002 with Heppner and Mattila are my favourites, but it is better than the very good 1990 performance with Lloyd and Benackova and the rather uneven 2006 production with Salminen, Seiffert and Meier. Visually, it's all naturalistic and appropriate to the time period of the opera(the first decade of the 1800s), and the video directing and picture quality are fine. The sound is mostly good if slightly congested at times.
Musically, it is truly excellent. The orchestra do get off to a slightly rocky start with some sour intonation in the horn section, but they recover very quickly and are as stirring as needed by Komm Hoffnung. Bernard Haitink's conducting is authoritative and respectful to the score. The chorus are wonderful, especially in their genuinely poignant rendition of the Prisoners' Chorus O Welche Lust. The performances are excellent across the board. Elizabeth Gale is a charming Marzelline. Ian Caley's Jacquino has a nice light voice also.
Elisabeth Soderstrom is a vocally and dramatically outstanding Leonore, thrilling in Komm Hoffnung, moving in O Namenleuse Freude, intense in Abersulicher and blending beautifully in the sublime quartet Mir Ist So Wunderbar. Anton De Ridder is a little long in the tooth, but still sounds pretty good as Florestan, and is often intensely moving especially in In Des Lebens. Curt Appelgren is a kindly Rocco, paying attention to musicality and convincing in the money aria. Robert Allman, looking oddly like Napolean, is suitably malevolent as Pizarro, doing justice to his solos that are not easy to pull off really. Michael Langdon is a dignified Fernando.
Overall, wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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