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New Critical Edition of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio at Opera Bonn, Berlin Philharmonic, and Glyndebourne

Jan. 01, 2020

New Critical Edition of Ludwig van Beethoven's <em>Fidelio</em> at Opera Bonn, Berlin Philharmonic, and Glyndebourne

On January 1, Opera Bonn rang in the New Year with a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's opera, Fidelio, conducted by Dirk Kaftan and directed by Volker Lösch, using Bärenreiter's new critical edition by Helga Lühning. This new edition is an exciting and vital addition to Beethoven scholarship and performance. The editor explains:

"Unlike the symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas – indeed, unlike any other of Beethoven's famous works – Fidelio has not been subjected to thorough scrutiny since the first scholarly edition appeared in the Old Gesamtausgabe 140 years ago. Every subsequent edition has been a reprint of the Gesamtausgabe volume, either unaltered or with negligible departures. No attempt was made to produce a thorough revision of the musical text in order to reflect changes in research findings or to accommodate present-day demands for fidelity to the original. As a result, the mistakes of the Gesamtausgabe – and more importantly the nineteenth century's view of Beethoven – have been handed down from 1864 to the present day.

In sum, our new score of Fidelio differs audibly from the ones known to date, not through the discovery of new arias or ensembles, but through the correction of myriad details of articulation, dynamics, sonority, scoring, and even quite specific pitches. In many passages we were able to correct readings from earlier editions, especially in those numbers for which the Gesamtausgabe availed itself of Beethoven's barely legible autograph manuscripts as its principal source." 

The new critical edition by Helga Lühning will also be used for other prominent new productions of Fidelio in the anniversary year. In particular: Kirill Petrenko’s Fidelio debut with the Berlin Philharmonic on April 4, 7, and 13 in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in a production directed by Mateja Koležnik, concert performances conducted by Marek Janowski with the Dresden Philharmonic on April 24 and 26 in the Kulturpalast of the Saxon state capital, and Frederic Wake-Walker’s new production for Glyndebourne Festival Opera which runs from July 25-August 29 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performing under the direction of Robin Ticciati.

Read more about the new critical edition of Beethoven's Fidelio here

To learn more about critical editions of works by Ludwig van Beethoven, visit:

Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio, op. 72
opera in two acts
full evening