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BEETHOVEN’S “FIDELIO: A HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL OPERA”


 

Fidelio: A Holocaust Memorial Opera,was produced in five cities of Poland: Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Lublin, Lodz. International Voice of Justice, together with the Beethoven Association of Krakow and Oslo Music Academy, partnered together on the production. The concept design and text was created by Dr. Martha Smith, portfolio by Dr. Haakon Smith.

Concept: Beethoven’s original version of Fidelio was set in Spain, 1700 and used a German spoken text along with German text for the singers. In this version, the German text is replaced by Polish text (or adapted to the language where it is performed) which is spoken by an actress playing an elderly Leonore and a little boy playing her grandson, Jakov. The actress, Leonore, is relating the history of her husband Florestan, a leader in the Polish resistance in World War II who was eventually captured and placed in a secret cell in Auschwitz. Leonore, who is Jewish, has been visited by a Polish resistance worker in London where she and her family had taken asylum. She learns of Florestan’s capture and imprisonment and decides to go to Poland, dressed as a boy, Fidelio. She gains the favor of Rocco, a guard, and is allowed to enter the cell where Florestan is to be executed by Pizarro, a henchman of Himmler. Leonore reveals her identity as Florestan’s wife, pulling a pistol on Pizarro as she holds him at bay. As Leonore is telling the story of the rescue of her husband to Jakov, the singers appear to be living the story as it is seen in the boy’s imagination.

STAFF:

Dr. Piotr Sulkowski, Maestro
Julia Pevzner, Director
Beethoven Academy Orchestra
National Radio Chorus of Poland
Adam Lucki, Costume and set design
Ada Bystrzycka, Lighting and sound technician
Dr. Martha Smith, designer and author of text
Dr. Haakon Smith, portfolio design

Leonore: Katarzyne Holysz
Florestan: Marcus Ahme

Pizarro: Peteris Eglitis
Marzeline: Ana Puche Rosado
Jaquino: Mateusz Zeidel
Don Fernando: Grzegorz Pazik

Funding for the production was given through the Norwegian Fund for Poland, The European Cultural Ministry, the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Schnurmacher Foundation, the Emily and Eugene Grant Family Foundation the American Embassy in Warsaw and private donors.

Fidelio: Slideshow

Fidelio: Review