For the true meaning of heroism expressed in some of the noblest music ever composed, look to Fidelio. Beethoven’s only opera is a testament to the human spirit and a test of musical skill and endurance, posing magnificent challenges for soloists, chorus and orchestra. The story is of the unjustly imprisoned Florestan and his steadfast wife Leonore, who secretly battles a corrupt political regime to win his release. Fidelio finds the super-hero in all of us. Returning to Santa Fe to sing Leonore in this production is the soprano Alex Penda (formerly Alexandrina Pendatchanska), who impressed in our productions of Rossini’s Ermione (2000) and Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (2002) – and also earned two Grammy nominations in 2006. The tenor Paul Groves, who sang Gualtiero in our 2011 Griselda and the title role in our 2010 production of The Tales of Hoffmann, portrays Florestan. Stephen Wadsworth, who directed King Roger in 2012, returns to mount this production. On the podium, Harry Bicket leads his first production as Santa Fe’s new Chief Conductor.
8:30 pm July 12, 16, 25,
8:00 pm July 31; August 5, 12, 21
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Librettist Joseph Sonnleithner
Sung in German
The nobleman Florestan has gone missing, and his wife Leonore believes his enemy Pizarro is holding him captive as a political prisoner.
Two years later, Leonore, disguised as Fidelio, becomes an assistant to Pizarro’s chief jailer, Rocco. Marzelline, Rocco’s daughter has fallen in love with Fidelio, though Jaquiro, who works under Rocco is in love with Marzelline. Fidelio has won the confidence of both Rocco and his daughter, and Jacquiro is crushed. Rocco mentions a man near death in the prison and Fidelio instantly suspects it is her husband. Fidelio persuades Rocco to take her where she believes her husband is kept – the lowest cell in the prison.
Don Fernando, minister of the state, is on his way to inspect the prison. Pizarro is now determined to kill Florestan before Fernando arrives, and orders Rocco to dig a grave in the dungeon. Rocco and Fidelio go to the cell and allow the other prisoners to get some air in the courtyard.
Florestan is in his cell, and dreams he sees Leonore free him. Rocco and Fidelio begin preparations for the murder, and Fidelio instantly recognizes Florestan. Rocco signals to Pizarro that all is ready. As Pizarro prepares to kill Florestan, Fidelio intercedes between the two, revealing that she is Florestan’s wife, Leonore. Just then, a trumpet call announces Fernando’s arrival above.
Don Fernando appears in the prison courtyard and rejoices as his friend Florestan appears. Fernando is relayed the details of Florestan’s ordeal, and sets him and all of the prisoners free, while Pizarro is arrested. The crowd hails Leonore for rescuing her husband.
- Leonore - Alex Penda
- Florestan - Paul Groves
- Don Pizarro - Greer Grimsley
- Rocco - Manfred Hemm
- Marzelline - Devon Guthrie
- Don Fernando - Evan Hughes
- Jaquino - Joshua Dennis
- Conductor - Harry Bicket
- Director - Stephen Wadsworth
- Scenic Designer - Charles Corcoran
- Costume Designer - Camille Assaf
- Lighting Designer - Duane Schuler