Beethoven: Fidelio

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Glyndebourne
WORKS: Fidelio
PERFORMER: Andrew Kennedy, Lisa Milne, Brindley Sherratt, Anja Kampe, Peter Coleman‑Wright, Nathan Vale, Anthony Cleverton, Torsten Kerl, Henry Waddington; Glyndebourne Chorus; London PO/Mark Elder


Anyone looking for a Fidelio in which it’s possible to feel the weight of the prisoners’ chains, and the dark, damp prison cell, should look no further than this live recording from Glyndebourne in 2006. Loud with ambient sound, and compelling in the unflagging energy of Mark Elder’s conducting, this Fidelio has huge physical and dramatic presence.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to let your imagination work, fired entirely by Beethoven’s music and the singing, then you might want to look further back in the catalogue for the likes of Christa Ludwig and John Vickers. Glyndebourne’s Leonore and Florestan are far more than adequate, but a little less than magnificent. Anja Kampe’s soprano is fearless and feisty, but without that thrilling frisson of inner vulnerability and courage. Torsten Kerl’s tenor is properly heroic, if without the edge of desperation and final exultation.

Rocco (Brindley Sherratt) and Don Fernando (Henry Waddington) are eloquent, despite lacking real strength in the lower register, where Peter Coleman-Wright’s Don Pizarro is also found wanting. Andrew Kennedy is enjoyably bristling and bustling as Jacquino, and Lisa Milne is an irresistible Marzelline.


In casting, tempo and pacing, this is a fine all-rounder, if never quite touching the sublime. Hilary Finch