The situation is grim. Florestan, an undocumented political prisoner reported as dead, is locked in a deep dungeon.
His wife Leonore still believes him to be alive and disguises herself as a man called Fidelio to get work in the prison. Don Pizarro, the tyrannical and abusive prison governor plans Florestan’s demise. And the upright minister Don Fernando rebalances the scales of justice. Beethoven’s only opera is an uplifting plea for love, justice and freedom.
Sung in German with English surtitles.
Running time is 2 hours 10 minutes including a 20 minute interval.
Audience members will require proof of a covid vaccination cert or proof of recovery cert to attend. Face coverings must be worn throughout the performance. You can find out more about the Gaiety Covid safety measures here.
Fidelio In Focus, a free online introduction to the opera with Deborah Kelleher takes place on 1 November. Booking is available now. #INOFIDELIO
The edition of Fidelio used in these performances was prepared by Helga Lühning and Robert Didion and published by Bärenreiter Verlag, Kassel, in collaboration with G. Henle Verlag, Munich. Performed by arrangement with Faber Music.
“A resonant 'Fidelio' ★★★★” - Bachtrack
“An ingeniously staged, persuasively sung production of Beethoven’s sole opera ★★★★” - The Irish Times
“a political manifesto against tyranny and oppression, a hymn to the beauty and sanctity of marriage, an exalted affirmation of faith in God as the ultimate human resource” - Leonard Bernstein
“Sinead Campbell-Wallace was a remarkable Leonore, vocally and dramatically” - Opera magazine
Cast and Creative Team
|Leonore||Sinéad Campbell Wallace|
|Don Fernando||David Howes|
|Prisoner 1||Jacek Wislocki|
|Prisoner 2||Matthew Mannion|
|Set & Costume Designer||Francis O'Connor|
|Lighting Designer||Paul Keogan|
|Chorus Director||Elaine Kelly|
|Irish National Opera Orchestra|
|Irish National Opera Chorus|
Leonore’s husband, Florestan, a political activist, has disappeared two years before the opening of the opera. She believes him to be still alive. Dressed as a man, she has found work as an assistant in the jail where she suspects he is being held.
Jaquino, one of the jailers, is in love with, and wants to marry, his boss’s daughter, Marzelline. She, however, has fallen for a newcomer, Fidelio, who is actually Leonore in disguise. Leonore has to gain Rocco’s trust to be allowed help him with the state prisoners, one of whom (later revealed to be Florestan) is held in solitary confinement in the deepest dungeon. He is being reduced to starvation rations. Don Pizarro, the prison governor who incarcerated Florestan, is tipped off about an investigatory visit by the King’s Minister, Don Fernando, and he resolves that the prisoner must be killed before his identity can be discovered. Rocco refuses to carry out the killing and Pizarro resolves to do it himself, ordering Rocco to dig the grave and bribing him with cash. Fidelio persuades Rocco to release the prisoners from their cells for a moment in the open air. But she can’t see her husband among them. Rocco secures the prison governor’s approval for the marriage of his daughter to Fidelio. But Pizarro is furious about the liberty of releasing the prisoners and he orders a lock-up. Fidelio and Rocco prepare for their venture into the deepest cells.
Florestan is chained to a rock in his dungeon and unaware of who has imprisoned him. He reflects on his situation — the efforts to tell the truth for which he has been punished, and he has a vision of his angelic wife. When Leonore arrives with Rocco, it is so dark she still is not sure of the prisoner’s identity. But she decides to free him anyway. Only when he wakes up and speaks does she recognise him. She manages to feed him bread and a dribble of wine. Pizarro arrives to murder Florestan but Leonore suddenly intervenes, pistol in hand, revealing herself to be Florestan’s wife, to everybody’s amazement. As all freeze in astonishment, a trumpet is heard announcing the minister’s arrival. Leonore and Florestan fall into each other’s arms. Pizarro is escorted away, Fernando releases the prisoners, and Leonore removes the chains from Florestan.