Beethoven’s only opera: Fidelio

Starting on Wednesday 5 June, we’ll be playing Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio as part of the Holland Festival. Every year we take to the orchestra pit at Dutch National Opera for an opera production. Experience this new production, with music that is still as urgent and inventive as it was 200 years ago.
Fidelio at Dutch Opera & Ballet, June 2024, image: Monika Rittershaus
Fidelio at Dutch Opera & Ballet, June 2024, image: Monika Rittershaus

Liberation opera, revolutionary artwork, ode to fidelity in love, utopian drama: Fidelio is all of these. Ukrainian stage director Andriy Zholdak an original new voice, will explore the deeper layers of this very human drama. Soprano Jacquelyn Wagner will sing the role of Leonore and the heldentenor Eric Cutler the role of her lover, the revolutionary Florestan.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada

The Concertgebouw Orchestra will be led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada, a Colombian conductor with whom the orchestra has worked with many times in the last few years. Last summer he also conducted the fourth edition of Concertgebouworkest Young, and we’ll see him again on Friday 13 September at Opening Night, the free open-air concert which opens the new season.

Opera in the Park - 16 June | Broadcast NPO Klassiek - 29 June

On 16 June, starting at 7:30 p.m., Fidelio will be livestreamed on a big screen in Park Frankendael in Amsterdam. Opera in the Park is free of charge, so pack your picnic basket, get there in time to get a good spot and enjoy a fantastic evening! Fidelio will be broadcast on NPO Klassiek via NTR on 29 June. 

Fidelio at Dutch Opera & Ballet, June 2024 (image: Monika Rittershaus)

Opera history

Our collaboration with Dutch National Opera has a very long history. Since its very early years, the Concertgebouw Orchestra has frequently played opera productions. After the Second World War, the orchestra played with De Nederlandsche Opera (founded in 1946 and renamed De Nederlandse Operastichting after 1965).

An annual event

Working together became more or less an annual event once the opera company moved into the Muziektheater, the building now known as Dutch National Opera & Ballet. This resulted in some unforgettable productions. The repertoire is wide-ranging: Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducted Mozart operas and Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus, and Riccardo Chailly has conducted many operas here including by Puccini and Verdi. In 2006, Mariss Jansons conducted a legendary production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with a young soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, who went on to stardom. We’ve performed operas by Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Berg, Korngold, Schoenberg and many more… including Dvorák: last year, Joana Mallwitz conducted a gorgeous Rusalka.

Daring productions

With Pierre Audi as its artistic director, Dutch National Opera became more experimental, and the opera house continues to put on unconventional productions under the directorship of Sophie van de Lint (since 2018). Fidelio will add a new chapter to this history: director Andriy Zholdak is known for his innovative dramatic language, inspired by film directors like Fellini, Bergman and Tarkovsky. Zholdak creates surrealistic dream worlds where symbolism plays a big part. And the productions are hits: in 2019, his version of Tchaikovsky’s Charodeyka with Opéra de Lyon was chosen by the German opera magazine Oper! As production of the year.

Regardless of the new ideas a director introduces, opera is a discipline which requires at least a balance between listening and looking. The presence of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the pit guarantees a high-level musical experience every time. And Beethoven’s music still sounds as urgent and inventive as it did 200 years ago.

Also read the article (in Dutch) in Preludium about our long and cherished relationship with Dutch National Opera.