Album: Beethoven, Fidelio Abbado / Stemme / Kaufmann / LFO (Decca)

Recorded live at last year's Lucerne Festival, Claudio Abbado's Fidelio is as compelling as it is beautiful.

Beethoven uses clarinet, oboe, horns and strings to express what cannot be expressed in words, and the instrumental performance is faultlessly sensitive to the drama it is illustrating. The singing is heroic, both from Nina Stemme as Leonore/Fidelio and Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan. Rachel Harnisch is a touching Marzelline, Falk Struckman a terrifying Don Pizarro.