Fidelio is an opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner based on a French story. The opera tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard called "Fidelio", rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.
Fidelio is an example of a “rescue opera”, a type of opera which was popular at the time. The hero (or heroine) has to fight against cruel people in order to rescue a lover. It was written at the time of the French Revolution. At this time, ideas about freedom and peace were being talked about by everyone, and this led to wars all over Europe. The famous Prisoners’ Chorus is a song for freedom, just like the last movement of his Ninth Symphony.
Leonore – Christa Ludwig
Florestan – Jon Vickers
Rocco – Gottlob Frick
Don Pizarro – Walter Berry
Otto Klemperer – conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus
EMI - 1962