Opera Magazine 2016
Beethoven: Fidelio
...Then of course there is Jonas Kaufmann, who was last filmed in this opera in in Zurich 2004, when he had yet to reach his full maturity as an artist, and who sings Florestan with unfailing musicality and a technical ease that has yet to be matched in this century. He also acts the role with a freedom of gesture and movement that few of his 20th century predecessors came close to achieving, and adheres with conviction to Claus Guth's conception of Florestan as a mentally deranged prisoner of his 'own reaction structure' as is explained in a programme interview unfortunately not included in Sony's booklet. In truth the German director claims that all the principal characters are similarly entrapped, but it is Florestan who has most opportunities to react to his (literal) imprisonment with twitchings, writhings and manic bursts of energy that last well beyond his liberation (here purely illusory) and culminate in his unscripted death at the end of the opera. All this is highly reminiscent of Guth's production of Lohengrin at La Scala in 2012, where Kaufmann 'revealed' with comparable theatrical bravura the hidden psychological weaknesses of Wagner's hero. So well hidden, in fact, that there is no trace of them in Wagner's score.

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