Fidelio Urfassung (Leonore)

Premiere

Cast 01.02.2020

Conductor Tomáš Netopil
Director Amélie Niermeyer
Textfassung Moritz Rinke
Set design Alexander Müller-Elmau
Costume Design Annelies Vanlaere
Lighting Design Gerrit Jurda
Choreography Thomas Wilhelm
Dramaturge Yvonne Gebauer
Director's Assistant Veronika Sedelmaier
Assistant set designer Anna Schöttl
Assistant costume designer Stephanie Thun-Hohenstein
Leonore Jennifer Davis
Leonore - die Schauspielerin Katrin Röver
Florestan Benjamin Bruns
Rocco Falk Struckmann
Pizarro Thomas Johannes Mayer
Don Fernando Samuel Hasselhorn
Marzelline Chen Reiss
Jaquino Jörg Schneider

Details

Leonore is horrified to learn that her husband Florestan – a figure in the political opposition – has been dragged off and has vanished into one of the country’s maze of prisons. This is a moment of crisis for her. The character separates (into singer and actress) and she starts a dialogue with herself which gives the audience insight into Leonore, with her fears, doubts and questions. In the course of the evening she starts on a journey to her husband and to herself. In this constellation the actress plays the role of the constantly questioning and doubting party. The singer is more confident, and urges herself to be courageous, in speech and in song.

First, Leonore – disguised in men’s clothing and under the name Fidelio – takes a job as a turnkey in the prison where she thinks her husband is being held, under the miserly and corrupt head jailer Rocco. At first, she feels hopeless at the prospect of finding Florestan in this labyrinthine building. A further complication is that Rocco’s daughter Marzelline falls in love with Leonore, and ignores her original admirer Jaquino. Leonore feels guilty at having deceived everyone and broken off the relationship between Jaquino and Marzelline. However, she knows that she only has a chance as a male of reaching Florestan in one of the secret chambers. To do this, she finally gathers her courage and asks Rocco to accompany him on his rounds, which he agrees to after some hesitation.

When the prison governor Pizarro appears with his men and searches the rooms, Leonore is seized by fear. She is completely unable to understand the confusing system, and poses her disturbing questions to her alter ego – about Pizarro, and about her husband’s earlier activities, which she knew nothing of.

Fearful of a surprise visit by the minister Don Fernando, a friend of his mortal enemy Florestan, Pizarro decides to kill Florestan. When Rocco meets Pizarro in this situation, Leonore tries to affect the course of events and influence Rocco. Although he does not answer her, he refuses Pizarro’s commission to kill Florestan. Pizarro accordingly decides to do it himself, and merely orders Rocco to make the corpse disappear in the depths of the prison. Leonore is helpless, the system seems impossible to defeat. Her courage turns to despair, she has no idea what to do. She briefly and almost unconsciously considers yielding to her feelings for Marzelline and abandoning her original goal, which no longer seems possible. She asks herself questions about her responsibilities – to Florestan and also to Marzelline.

Ultimately, she decides to continue with the difficult task of freeing Florestan, and goes with Rocco to her husband, confined in the most terrible situation. Unable to recognize him immediately in the darkness, Leonore is filled with sympathy and decides to free the prisoner lying before her at all costs. Her love for Florestan becomes a great and general love of humanity. Finally, the husband and wife recognize each other. When Pizarro comes to kill Florestan, Leonore shields her husband and is stabbed by Pizarro. In a utopian vision at her death she sees the arrival of the minister and the liberation of all the prisoners.

Sponsor

This production is made possible thanks to the support of