Opera review: Fidelio, English National Opera, London

 

What is it? The ENO stage Beethoven’s opera; director Calixto Bieito replaces the dialogue with Jorge Luis Borges and Cormac McCarthy quotations. Edward Garner conducts.

The Independent says: “In strictly musical terms, this shows ENO in fine form, but the net result of Bieito’s patchy production is a frivolous travesty of this great opera … Every generation remakes the classics in its own image, but if, like Bieito, you define ‘prisoners’ as including everyone who works in an open-plan office, you diss the sufferings of today’s real Florestans in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Siberia.”

They say: theartsdesk.com: “snatches of poetry [make] little sense to the uninitiated and only muddy the waters for us all. Out goes the domestic drama at the heart of the opera (and I do believe it’s there for a reason) and in comes the psychotherapy.”

Classical-music.com: “what was the dead weight at the heart of the evening? … The problem lay in Bieito’s idea of entrapment as a concept, rather than a drama. And Fidelio needs all the dramatic help it can get.”

You say: @EdwinMansfield: ”weighed down by its own portentousness. However there were some amazing touches!”

Details: to 17 Oct; eno.org.

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