Thursday, April 18, 2013

'Fidelio' at the Detroit Opera House

Political intrigue, false imprisonment, marital devotion, cross-dressing, a kick-ass lady--Beethoven knows how to do a night at the opera. Fidelio, which opened last Saturday at the Detroit Opera House, closes on April 21.

Here is Christine Goerke on her role as Leonora/Fidelio and on "Abscheulicher," her stand-out piece in the first act:

For me, the show really kills it in the second act, when we start hearing from Florestan (John Mac Master), Leonora's long-suffering husband being held as a political prisoner. Beethoven is a terrible schmaltz, and the sustained epic feeling of every. single. note. between Leonora and Florestan really lets that schmaltziness shine. I also loved that Leonora is the lion, the schemer, the hunter, the hero, and Florestan is her flower, her prize, the person who needs saving. Alternatively, the opera could be interpreted as an elaborate call to prison reform.

In his opening remarks, Michigan Opera Theatre Director David DiChiera noted that Detroit has not seen Fidelio in about 30 years, and he suggested that it would be about that long until the less popular opera returns. This isn't Boheme, people. (I'm paraphrasing him here.) Get yourself to the theater.

Next: Aida closes the season in May!

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