The Guardian, 7 July 2011
Tim Ashley
Beethoven: Fidelio – review
Claudio Abbado's Fidelio was taped live at last year's Lucerne festival, where the opera was performed in a semi-staging by Tatjana Gürbaca that seriously divided opinion. You might find yourselves in two minds about the recording, too. Abbado's contribution is without doubt extraordinary – a loving if slow interpretation, noble in its anguish and elation, that emphasises the work's demands for dignity, as well as liberty, as basic human rights. The rest of it is more equivocal. On the plus side, we have Falk Struckmann's chillingly sadistic Pizarro and Christof Fischesser's attractive, younger-than-usual Rocco. An exceptional Florestan – arguably the finest since Jon Vickers's – from Jonas Kaufmann wonderfully conveys his moral greatness as well as the extremity of his suffering. Altogether less impressive, however, are Nina Stemme's deeply unimaginative Leonore and the fact that Gürbaca was permitted to replace much of the dialogue with pretentious monologues of her own, which you will fast-forward through if you are wise.

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