Marc Minkowski will conduct the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, with soloists Ingela Brimberg, Brandon Jovanovich, Evgeny Kikitin, Robert Gleadow, Sylvia Schwartz, Bernard Richter, Charles Dekeyser. They will perform the only Beethoven opera ever wrote, Fidelio.
In a political prison governed by the despotic Don Pizarro, Rocco is the gaoler. Rocco's daughter, Marzelline, is very dismissive of Jacquino, the governor's young assistant, following the arrival of a new young prison officer, Fidelio, with whom she has fallen in love. Rocco approves of his daughter's choice. Nobody has the slightest idea that beneath his uniform, the capable and industrious Fidelio is actually Leonore, a woman who has taken on the role, with all its hardships, in order to find and free her husband, Florestan, whom Pizarro has thrown into prison. When Pizarro learns that the minister, Don Fernando, is on his way to inspect the prison, he decides to remove Florestan once and for all. He orders Rocco to dig a grave in Florestan's dungeon. Leonore persuades Rocco to take her into this secret dungeon, where she suspects her husband is being held. The other prisoners are let out briefly into the prison yard. Their hope of rescue, justice and freedom is the only light in their gloomy existence.
Florestan, broken by imprisonment and delirious with near starvation, sees a vision of his wife Leonore appearing as an angel and leading him to freedom. He does not notice Rocco and Fidelio making all the preparations for his murder, an act that will be carried out by Pizarro personally. Leonore is appalled when she realises that the man in chains is indeed her husband. At a predetermined signal, Pizarro enters the dungeon to kill his enemy, Florestan, but at the last moment Fidelio leaps between them, revealing himself to be Leonore and preventing the murder. The sound of a trumpet heralds salvation in the arrival of the minister, Don Fernando. Leonore and Florestan fall into each other's arms. The newly-freed prisoners and their wives praise the day that has brought them their freedom. Don Fernando recognises Florestan as an old friend whom he had given up for dead, and has Pizarro led away for punishment. Leonore is allowed to remove Florestan's chains herself, and everyone rejoices at the heroism she has shown.
French musician and conductor Marc Minkowski, who founded the Musiciens du Louvre, but who is also music director of the Sinfonia Varsovia, meets again the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra for a concert dedicated to Fidelio, the only opera written by Beethoven. With him, a brilliant casting: Ingela Brimberg, Brandon Jovanovich, Evgeny Nikitin, Robert Gleadow, Sylvia Schwartz, Bernard Richter and Charles Dekeyser.
Picture: Evgeny Nikitin and Marc Minkowski © Aline Paley.
2004 Lucerne Festival Opening Concert