Ludwig van Beethoven, Fidelio


Ludwig van Beethoven, Fidelio

Paul Robinson

(Cambridge opera handbooks)

Cambridge University Press, 1996

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Fidelio is Beethoven's only complete opera and one of the most admired, and problematic, in the repertoire. This book explores the fascinating musical and dramatic elements within the work as well as the debt to the traditions of French opera in the late eighteenth century and its affinities with the French Revolution. Winton Dean offers a comparison of the opera's first (1805) and final (1814) versions. Essays by Michael Tusa and Joseph Kerman consider its musical idiom and the challenges Beethoven faced as an instrumental composer trying his hand at opera. A final chapter examines the opera's performance history, and the volume also includes a synopsis, bibliography, and informative illustrations.


  • List of illustrations
  • General preface
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Synopsis
  • 3. Beethoven and opera Winton Dean
  • 4. The French theatrical origins of Fidelio David Charlton
  • 5. Fidelio and the French Revolution
  • 6. Music as drama: structure, style and process in Fidelio Michael C. Tusa
  • 7. Augenblicke in Fidelio Joseph Kerman
  • 8. An interpretive history
  • Notes
  • Select bibliography
  • Index.

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