12/1/2021

Ludwig Van Beethoven Fidelio

Persecution, freedom and brotherhood, sacrifice in the name of noble and lofty ideals, devoted and loyal love are all key themes in Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera. Its successive versions (I – 1805, II – 1806, III – 1814) reflect the process of the composer’s struggle with the material and his truly painstaking work to produce the perfect dramatic form. The libretto was based on “a drama of horror and salvation” by Jean Bouilly, Leonore, or Marital Love in a German translation by Joseph Sonnleithner. The first version of the opera, a longish three-act Leonore, only lasted for three performances at the Theater an der Wien in 1805. A year later, the composer cut it down to two acts, but he still failed to achieve the expected success. Only the third attempt, based on a text modified by a new author, Georg Friedrich Treitschke, was constructive enough to end in a final version of 1814. The opera received the title of Fidelio and thus entered history of culture.
It has the form of a Singspiel: the recitatives sung secco have been replaced by monodramas and spoken dialogue. Beethoven could boast of a great predecessor, Mozartem, who elevated the German popular genre into the realm of high music, with symbolic meaning as exemplified by The Magic Flute, permeated with Masonic symbolism. The style of French heroic opera, defined during the Revolution, with its powerful, almost poster-like features, was also an important source of inspiration. Beethoven found himself seemingly “between styles,” uniting, in his work, various idioms of genre: French, German, and Italian, and inscribing them into a primary symphonic structure. Contrarily to Mozart, for whom “opera was everything,” Beethoven’s thinking was instrumental; this is why he treated musical theatre as a true symphonist would.
In Beethoven’s musical theatre, with its underlying symphony, the plot develops as in a dramatic story derived from a static oratorio rather than an opera. Its melodics, too, has little to do with the bel canto convention. Mozart did not want to “offend his audience’s ears” and worked on beautiful singing; Beethoven was mainly interested with the expressive value of music and in its powerful impact, even at the expense of elegant phrase. He also presented the soloists with challenges of technique and stamina. The famous prison aria of Florestan at the beginning of Act Two, God! What darkness here lasts, including the instrumental introduction, for a dozen or so minutes of intense and dark music. At a time dominated by Cherubini’s melodious operas, with Rossini’s bel canto just around the corner, the melodics of Fidelio could be seen in comparison as hewn in stone rather than meticulously woven. For it is all about the truth of expression instead of beautiful singing. It departs from the sense carried by the lyrics rather than from an a priori stated structure. Indeed, the composer himself confessed that he tried to write smooth-flowing voices and that he was ready to face a tribunal of common sense and good taste…
In Fidelio, Beethoven the revolutionary used means already established in opera seria and buffa: recitatives and arias, ensembles and choirs; he also crowned both acts with collective finales. Yet his personae are more than just expressively presented individual characters – they become the speakers for the main ideas of the drama. The faithful wife Leonore, struggling with the tyrant in her disguise as Fidelio, symbolizes love and freedom. She exhibits her violent passions both in the recitative and aria in Act One, Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? and in her love duet with Florestan in Act Two. It should be remembered that Beethoven wrote the part of Leonore for singer Anne Milder, endowed with a beautiful and resounding voice. The jailer Don Pizarro is not only the villain of the opera; he also personifies evil, expressed in the passion of revenge in his aria with choir in the first act. A soloists’ quartet from the same act could serve as an example of a counterpoint of characters, an intricate canon. Each of the characters gives vent to a different emotion: Marzelline – to that of love, Leonore – concealed fear, Rocco – perverse satisfaction, and Jaquino – embarassment.
The orchestra plays a significant part in creating the mood and escalating the dramatic tension. It is the orchestra that presents the singers with appropriate tone and helps them conduct the musical narration. The score of Fidelio confirms Beethoven’s temperament for symphony and colour, bringing out individual colours from the orchestra’s tutti and achieving, at times, a truly Wagnerian tone. He significantly modifies instrumentation in his search for the most suitable form. The texture of the orchestra is often built on contrast: e.g, the high-pitched booming tones of woodwinds come up against the warm (or, one could say, Romantic) low sounds of cellos and doublebasses. The instruments acquire a speech-like character, and some of them carry symbolic meaning: trombones, for instance, help depict a mood of evil and darkness, just as they do in ombra scenes in Monteverdi or Gluck.
The finale of Fidelio brings a just ending: for his shameful deeds, Pizarro himself is thrown into prison. The joyful song resounds: Heil sei dem Tag!. Leonore-Fidelio utters the significant words, Love alone my efforts guided,/Real love is not afraid. The final thanksgiving hymn comes in C major, since Haydn’s Creation the symbol of light in music; lofty Classicism also identified it with the idea of humanity. Beethoven’s message is clear: good triumphs, evil has been vanquished by love.
Małgorzata Janicka-Słysz

Ludwig van Beethoven
Fidelio op. 72
Libretto: Joseph Sonnleithner

Characters:
Don Fernando, Minister (Baritone)
Don Pizarro, Governor of the State prison (Bass-Baritone)
Florestan, a prisoner (Tenor)
Leonora, his wife disguised as Fidelio (Soprano)
Rocco, jailer (Bass)
Marcellina, his daughter, in love with Fidelio (Soprano)
Jaquino, Gate keeper, Marcellina’s suitor (Tenor)
First prisoner (Tenor)
Second prisoner (Bass)

Chorus of guards (TB)
Chorus of prisoners (TTBB)
Chorus of town people (SATB).

Overture „Fidelio”
Allegro; Adagio; Presto

Act I,
Duet, Jaquino, Marcellina
Allegro

Fidelio is Beethoven's only complete opera and one of the most admired, and problematic, in the repertoire. This Opera Handbook explores the fascinating musical and dramatic elements within the work as well as the debt to the traditions of French opera in the. Ludwig Van Beethoven: Fidelio (Live Recording in New York ) Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera House & Bruno Walter Opera 2010. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only Ludwig, the second-born, and two younger brothers survived infancy. Kaspar Anton Karl was born on 8 April 1774, and Nikolaus Johann (generally known as Johann), the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only Ludwig, the second-born, and two younger brothers survived infancy. Kaspar Anton Karl was born on 8 April 1774, and Nikolaus Johann (generally known as Johann), the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776.

Jaquino
At long last, sweetheart, we’re alone and can have a cosy chat together.
Marcellina
Not about anything serious, then; I can’t interrupt my work.
Jaquino
Just a word, don’t be hard-hearted!
Marcellina
Well, go on: I’m listening.
Jaquino
Unless you’re a bit more friendly I shall not open my lips.
Marcellina
Unless you take me as I am I shall simply close my ears.
Jaquino
Listen to me just a moment and then I’ll leave you alone.
Marcellina
Can’t I have a moment’s peace? Well, speak on then.
Jaquino
I’ve chosen you for my wife, do you understand?
Marcellina
That’s quite clear.
Jaquino
And if you’ll only consent – what do you say?
Marcellina
Then we’d be man and wife.
Jaquino
In a few weeks we could…
Marcellina
Well done, you’ve even settled the day.
Jaquino
A plague on this endless knocking!
Marcellina
At last I’m rid of him.
Jaquino
I was getting on so well, and now my prize escapes me again.
Marcellina
How his love wearies me and the time seems endless!
I know the poor chap is suffering and I’m truly sorry for him
but Fidelio is my choice, and loving him sheer joy.
Jaquino
Where was I? She’s not looking at me.
Marcellina
Here he is, starting all over again.
Jaquino
When will you say „Yes” to me? It might as well be today.
Marcellina
Oh dear! he makes my life a misery.
Now and for ever, my answer is „No, no!”
Jaquino
You really are made of stone, unmoved by my wishes and pleas.
Marcellina
I must be so harsh with him; the least thing makes him hopeful.
Jaquino
So you’ll never change your mind? What do you say?
Marcellina
Do go away.
Jaquino
What? Can’t I look at you? Not even that?
Marcellina
Very well, stay then!
Jaquino
You’ve so often promised me…
Marcellina
Promised? No, that’s so much!
Jaquino
A plague on this endless knocking!
Marcellina
At last I’m rid of him!
Jaquino
She really seemed quite concerned. Who knows, I may yet succeed.
Marcellina
. Thank Heaven for that sound! I was at my wits’ end

Poor Jaquino! I’m really sorry for him. I used to be fond of him, but then Fidelio came to our house, and since that time everything within me and around me has changed.

Aria. Marcellina
Andante con moto; Poco piu allegro

Marcellina
O were we two united, and I could call you husband!
A maiden can confess only half of what she feels.
But when I do not need to blush for an ardent loving kiss,
when nothing on earth shall come between us –
hope fills my heart with inexpressible delight –
how happy shall I be then!
In domestic peace and bliss I’ll wake each morning; we’ll greet each other tenderly and work away our cares. And when our day’s work’s done,
kind night will softly fall and we shall rest from our toil.
Hope fills my heart with inexpressible delight – how happy shall I be then!

Rocco
Poor Fidelio, this time you’ve been carrying to much.
Leonora
I must admit I’m a little tired. The blacksmith repaired the handcuffs so long that I was thinking he’ll never finish his work.
Rocco
Good boy! Less ardent and less wise people were in my pay.
Leonora
O, please, don’t think I’m dutiful only for wages.
Rocco
Hush! Do you think I can’t see into your heart?

Quartet, Marcellina, Leonora, Jaquino, Rocco
Andante sostenuto

Marcellina
A wondrous feeling fills me and grips my very heart.
He loves me, it is clear: oh, how happy I shall be!
Leonora
How great the danger is, how weak the ray of hope!
She loves me, it is clear: o unutterable anguish!
Rocco
She loves him, it is clear. Yes, child, he shall be yours.
They’ll make a fine young couple I hope they’ll be happy.
Jaquino
My hair stands up on end; her father favours him.
Feelings of dread fill me; I see no way ahead.

Rocco
Listen, Fidelio! I’ve decided to make you my son-in-law.
Marcellina
Will you do that soon, my dear father?

Rocco
As soon as the Governor has left for Seville. So, my children, you’re very much
in love, aren’t you? But that’s not all there is to a good and happy household:
there’s something else you need…

4. Aria, Rocco
Allegro moderato; Allegro.

Rocco
If you haven’t gold as well, happiness is hard to find;
life can be a heavy burden, full of care and woe.
But if it jingles round your pocket, fate is at your mercy:
gold can bring you love and power and still your keenest longings.
For fortune’s like a paid servant and serves its master, mighty gold.
When nought and nought are put together, small remains the total sum;
dining on love alone won’t stop your feeling hungry.
So may fortune smile kindly on you and bless and guide your efforts; your sweetheart in your arms, and money in your purse, many a year may you prosper. For fortune’s like a paid servant and serves its master, mighty gold.
Leonora
Surely, but there’s something else no less dear to me
Rocco
And what would that be?
Leonora
Your trust. How often I see you coming back from the underground cells
quite exhausted and out of breath. Why may I not accompany you there?
Rocco
You know I have the strictest orders to allow no one near the prisoners
of State.
Marcellina
Surely where there’s that prisoner of whom you’ve spoken many a time.
Leonora
He’s been in prison here a long time?
Rocco
More than two years.
Leonora
Two years, you say? He must be a great criminal.
Rocco
Or he must have great enemies. For a month now, at Pizarro’s orders I’ve been cutting down his rations. Now in twenty-four hours he gets nothing more than two ounces of black bread and one half of measure of water. No light, no straw any more – nothing.
Marcellina
O my dear father, don’t take Fidelio there. He couldn’t bear the sight.
Leonora
But why not? I have courage and strength!
Trio. Marcellina, Leonora, Rocco
Allegro ma non troppo; Allegro molto.

Rocco
Well said, my son! Always have courage, and you’ll succeed.
You must harden your heart in the presence of terrible sights.
Leonora
I’m not afraid! With stout heart I’ll go underground.
For high reward love can endure even the greatest pain.
Marcellina
Your tender heart will suffer many a pang in those dungeons:
Afterwards the happiness of love an untold delights will return.
Rocco
You’ll surely make your fortune.
Leonora
I put my faith in God and justice.
Marcellina
You may look into my eyes too, for love also has its power.
Yes, we shall be happy.
Leonora
Yes, I can still be happy.
Rocco
Yes you will be happy.
The Governor must agree today to let you share the work with me.
Leonora
I shall not have a moment’s peace if you make me wait even until tomorrow.
Marcellina
Yes, dear father, ask him today; the sooner then can we be married.
Rocco
Soon I shall be in my grave; I need your help, it’s true.
Leonora
How long I’ve been the prey of torment! Hope, now give me strength.
Marcellina
Father dear, what are you saying? You must be our friend and guide a long time yet.
Rocco
Forewarned is forearmed; your longings will be stilled.
Join your hands, and bind the tie with sweet tears of joy.
Leonora
You are so good, you give me courage; soon my longing will be stilled.
I give my hand in loving pledge, albeit with bitter tears.
Marcellina
Take heart! What fires of deep desire!
Firm be the tie in heart and hand; oh sweet, sweet tears!

6. March
Vivace

Pizarro
Has anything new happened?

Rocco
No, Sir.
Pizarro
The despatches!
Rocco
Here!
Pizarro
I know this writing. (he reads) ”I would like to rapport you that the Minister has been informed that the State prisons, which you supervise, contain a number of victims detained without authority. He is setting out tomorrow on a surprise inspection.”
God! If he were to discover that I’ve enchained Florestan, whom he thought dead long since… But there is a way.

Aria with Chorus of guards
Allegro agitato

Pizarro
Ha, the moment has come
when I can wreak my vengeance! Your doom awaits you now!
To run him through the heart, what rapture, what great joy!
I was almost humbled in the dust, the sport and mock of those
who would have laid me low.
Now the tables are turned and I can slay my tormentor!
Ha, the moment has come!
In his final hour, with my knife in his wound,
I’ll shout in his ear: Victory! ‘Tis I who triumph now!
Chorus of guards
He speaks of death and wounds!
Keep sharp watch on your rounds, this must be something serious!
Pizarro
Ha, the moment has come!
Victory! ‘Tis I who triumph now! Victory is mine!

Rocco!
Rocco
Sir?

Duet. Pizarro, Rocco
Allegro con brio

Pizarro
Come, old man, we must hurry! You shall be well rewarded
I will make you rich;
take this for a start.
Rocco
But tell me, Sir, at once in what way I can serve you.

Ludwig van beethoven fidelio de

Pizarro
You are a man of iron nerve, made steadfast and strong
through years of service.
Rocco
What must I do? Say, Sir!
Pizarro
Murder!
Rocco
What?
Pizarro
Listen to me! You’re trembling! Are you a man?
We have no time to lose; for the safety of the State
a criminal must be removed, and that at once.
Rocco
But Sir…
Pizarro
You hesitate?
He must live no longer, or I am lost indeed.
Shall Pizarro falter? You shall fall – and I shall stand.
Rocco
My limbs are all a-tremble. How could I do this deed?
I will commit no murder whatever may befall me.
No, Sir, to take life is not my duty.
Pizarro
Then I myself will do it, since your courage fails you:
make haste at once to that man below –
you know the one –
Rocco
The one who’s barely alive,
who’s no more than a shadow?
Pizarro
Go down to him. I’ll wait not far away
while quickly in the well you dig a grave.
Rocco
And then?
Pizarro
Then stealthily in disguise I myself will enter the dungeon –
one blow – and he is silenced!
Rocco
Starving in his fetters, for long he’s suffered pain.
To kill him is to free him; the dagger ends his woes.
Pizarro
Let him perish in his fetters; too short a time he’s suffered.
His death alone can free me and make me safe again.
Now, old man, we must hurry! Do you understand? You give me the sign!
Then stealthily in disguise I myself will enter the dungeon –
one blow – and he is silenced!

Recitative and Aria. Leonora
Allegro agitato; Adagio; Allegro con brio.

Leonora
Monster! Where are you hastening? What savage cruelty have you planned?
The call of pity, the voice of humanity – can nothing touch your tiger’s heart?
Though fury and rage surge like stormy waves in your blood,
for me a rainbow shines, peacefully bright against the storm-clouds:
it looks down on me in peace and calm, recalling days gone by
and soothing my fevered soul.
Come, Hope, let not your last star be eclipsed in despair!
o come, light me my goal, however far; love will attain it.
I follow a voice within me, unwavering,
and I am strengthened by the faith of wedded love.
O you for whom I’ve borne so much, if i could but reach the place
where malice has imprisoned you, to bring you consolation!

Leonora
Master Rocco, I have tried many times to let the prisoners into the fortress garden
for once. Today the weather is so beautiful.
Rocco
Well then, Jaquino, Fidelio! Open the ordinary cells. I’ll go to Pizarro and detain
him.

Finale. First prisoner, Second prisoner, Chorus of prisoners
Allegro ma non troppo

Chorus
Oh what joy to breathe freely in the open air!
Up here alone is life! The dungeon is a tomb.
First prisoner
With all our faith we’ll trust in Heaven’s aid!
Hope whispers softly to me: we shall be free, we shall find peace.
Chorus
Oh Heaven! Deliverance! Oh what joy! Liberty, can it return?
Second prisoner
Speak low! Be careful! Ears and eyes are on us!
Chorus
Speak low! Be careful! Ears and eyes are on us!
Oh what joy to breathe freely in the open air!
Up here alone is life! The dungeon is a tomb.
Speak low! Be careful! Ears and eyes are on us!

Recitative Leonora, Rocco
Allegro vivace
Leonora
Well, how did it go?
Rocco
Very well, very well. I took my courage in my hands
and put it all to him. And would you believe what he replied to me?
He’ll consent to the marriage and to your helping me;
this very day I’ll take you down to the dungeons.

Duet. Leonora, Rocco
Allegro molto; Andante con moto

Beethoven Fidelio Listen

Leonora
Today! This very day! What glad news! What joy!
Rocco
I see your pleasure; wait but a while and then we’ll go together.
Leonora
Where?
Rocco
To that poor wretch below to whom for several weeks I’ve given less and less to eat.
Leonora
Ach! – Is he to be released?
Rocco
No, no!
Leonora
What then?
Rocco
No, no! In a way we must release him.
In an hour he must – mum’s the word – be buried by us.
Leonora
Then he is dead?
Rocco
Not yet, not yet.
Leonora
Is it your job to kill him?
Rocco
No, my boy, do not fear: Rocco will not lend himself to murder.
The Governor himself will do the deed; we two only have to dig the grave.
Leonora
Perhaps to dig my husband’s grave! What could be more horrible!
Rocco
I’m not allowed to give him food; he’ll be better off in the grave.
Leonora
What?
Andante con moto
Rocco
We must set to work at once, I need you with me to help.
A jailer’s life’s a hard one.
Leonora
I’ll follow you, even unto death.
Rocco
In the ruined well the digging should be easy.
Believe me, I am loath to do this; and you too shrink, I see.
Leonora
It’s just that I’m not used to it.
Rocco
I wish I could have spared you this; but it is too much for me alone,
and our master is severe.

Leonora
O bitter grief!
Rocco
I think the lad is weeping.
No, you stay here – I’ll go alone, I’ll go alone.
Leonora
No, no! I must see him, that poor wretch, though I should die myself.
Leonora and Rocco
Let us delay no longer; we must be about our cruel task.

Leonora, Marcellina, Jaquino, Rocco
Allegro molto

Marcellina
Father, father, hurry!
Rocco
What is it now?
Jaquino
Don’t lose a moment!
Rocco
What has happened?
Marcellina
Pizarro is on his way, and threatening you!
Jaquino
Don’t lose a moment!
Rocco
Keep calm! keep calm!
Leonora
We must be gone!
Rocco
Just tell me this: does he know?
Jaquino
Yes, indeed he does.
Marcellina
The officer has told him of the privilege we allowed the prisoners.
Rocco
Let all of them return quickly.
Marcellina
You know how he rages when he is in a fury.
Leonora
My whole being rages! My blood is up!
Rocco
My conscience is clear, however the tyrant rages.

Pizarro, Rocco

Pizarro
Presumptuous old man! what authority have you dared to take upon yourself
that you, a mere menial, should allow the prisoners out?

Rocco
My lord!
Pisarro
Well, speak!
Rocco
The return of Spring, the bright warm sunshine,
and – has your lordship remembered something that absolves me?
Today is His Majesty’s name-day,
which we are celebrating in this way.
For him below death waits – but let the others enjoy a little walk;
reserve your wrath for him alone.
Pizarro
Then hasten and prepare his grave: I will have quiet up here.
Lock the prisoners up once more, and never take such liberties again!

Wolfgang amadeus mozart

Quintett. Leonora, Marcellina, Jaquino, Pizarro, Rocco, Chorus of prisoners.
Allegretto vivace

Chorus of prisoners
Farewell, warm sunshine, so soon snatched from us.
on us descends a night in which no dawn will soon break.
Marcellina
How they pressed into the sunshine and now troop sadly back again!
The others softly murmur: Here there is no room for pleasure.
Leonora
You heard the order: move along, go back now to your cells!
Anguish courses through my limbs is there no judgement on the wicked?
Jaquino
You heard the order: move along, go back now to your cells!
They’re plotting something; if I could only catch their words!
Pizarro
Now Rocco, waste no more time, but go down to the dungeon.
And think not to return until my judgement is accomplished.
You heard my order: move along, go back now to your cells!
Rocco
No, Sir. I’ll waste no time but hurry down to the dungeon.
My limbs are all a-tremble: a lamentable, harsh task is mine!
You heard the order: move along, go back now to your cells!
Act II
Introduction. Aria. Florestan
Grave; Poco allegro; Adagio; Adagio cantabile; Poco allegro

Florestan
Grave
O God! how dark it is! how terrible this silence!
Here in this void no living thing comes near O cruel ordeal! But God’s will is just.
I’ll not complain; for He has decreed the measure of my suffering.

Adagio cantabile
In the springtime of my life all my joy has vanished!
I dared to speak the truth and these chains are my reward.
All my pains I gladly suffer, end my life in degradation;
in my heart is consolation – I have done my duty!
Poco allegro
But what is this scent of balmy air? What this ray of light in my tomb?
I seem to see an angel, amid a scent of roses,
an angel like my wife Leonora standing by my side to comfort me
to lead me to freedom in the kingdom of Heaven.

Beethoven fidelio youtube

Fidelio Beethoven Opera

Melodrama and Duet. Leonora, Rocco
Poco sostenuto; Andantino; Andante con moto.

Leonora
How cold it is in this underground vault!
Rocco
Of course it is; it’s so deep down.
Leonora
I thought we should never find the entrance.
Rocco
Here he is.
Leonora
He doesn’t seem to stir at all.
Rocco
Perhaps he’s dead.
Leonora
Dead! Do you think so?
Rocco
No, no, he’s asleep.
So much the better; we must set to work at once. We’ve no time to lose.
Leonora
It is impossible to distinguish his features – God help me if it is he!
Rocco
Here is the well I was telling you about. – Give me the pickaxe and stand over here
You’re trembling – are you afraid?
Leonora
No, it’s just that it’s so cold.
Rocco
Well set to work: that’ll soon warm you.
Andante con moto
Come, get to work and dig; it won’t be long before he’s here.
Leonora
You’ll have no cause to complain, I’ll content you, never fear.
Rocco
Come, help me lift this stone – take care! take care! it’s heavy!
Leonora
I’ve got it, don’t worry; I’ll do my utmost to move it.
Rocco
A little more!
Leonora
Have patience!
Rocco
It’s moving!
Leonora
A little further!
Rocco
It isn’t easy!
Come, we must hurry with this grave; it won’t be long before he’s here.
Leonora
Just let me get my breath back, we’ll soon have finished here.
Rocco
Come, get to work and dig; it won’t be long before he’s here.
Leonora
Whoever you are, I swear to Heaven I’ll save you! You shall not be his prey!
I will loose your chains, poor man, and set you free.
Rocco
Why do you slacken in your work?
Leonora
Father, I’m getting on with it
Rocco
Come, we must hurry with this grave; it won’t be long before he’s here.
Leonora
You’ll have no cause to complain. Just let me get my breath again,
and no work will be too hard for me.

He’s waking up.
Rocco
Waking up, you say? Now, have you had a short rest?
Florestan
How could I find rest? Tell me at least, who is the governor of this prison?
Rocco
Don Pizarro.
Florestan
Pizarro, whose crimes I dared to make known? Send to Leonora Florestan as
soon as possible and tell her I am lying here in chains.
Rocco
It’s impossible, I tell you! I’ll expose me to ruin!
Florestan
So, if I am condemned to death don’t torment me longer.
Who is that?
Rocco
My turnkey, and soon my son-in-law.
You’re so agitated!
Leonora
Who would not be? You yourself…
Rocco
It’s true. The man voice…
Leonora
Yes, it pierces one’s very heart.
13 Trio. Leonora, Florestan, Rocco
Moderato; Un poco piu allegro.

Florestan
May you be rewarded in a better world; Heaven has sent you here to me.
Thank you! You have greatly refreshed me; but I am helpless to repay your kindness.
Rocco
Poor man, I gladly gave him wine: he has but little time to live.
Leonora
My heart is throbbing furiously with joy and bitter pain.
Florestan
I see this youth is deeply moved and the man too shows emotion.
O God, you send me hope; may it become reality!
Leonora
The dread moment draws near which brings my death or his salvation.
Rocco
I carry my duty but detest all cruelty.
Leonora
This scrap of bread – for two days I’ve carried it about with me.
Rocco
I wish you could, but have to say I dare not let you do it.
Leonora
Ah! Yet you gave the poor man a drink.
Rocco
It must not be, it must not be.
Leonora
He has but little time to live.
Rocco
Then so be it – you may risk it.
Leonora
Here, take this bread, poor man!
Florestan
Oh thank you!
May you be rewarded in a better world; Heaven has sent you here to me.
You have greatly invigorated me
I see this youth is deeply moved and the man too shows emotion.
O if I could but obtain it!
Leonora
May Heaven grant you deliverance, then my reward be great indeed.
You gave the poor man a drink.
Rocco
Your suffering has often touched my heart although I was forbidden to help.
Poor man, I gladly gave him wine: he has but little time to live.
Florestan
Oh that I could repay you! Oh thank you! But I am helpless to repay your kindness.
Un poco piu Allegro.
Leonora
Oh, This is more than I can bear! You poor man!
Rocco
He has but little time to live. Poor man!
Pizarro
Is everything ready?
Rocco
Yes. We should only to open the cistern. Shall I take off his chains?
Pizarro
No. Unshackle him from the stone. Time is pressing.

14. Quartet. Leonora, Florestan, Pizarro, Rocco.
Allegro; Piu moto; Un poco sostenuto.

Pizarro
He shall die! But first he shall know whose hand will tear apart his proud heart.
Let the veil of my vengeance be torn off, and behold me! Yes, you see aright!
Pizarro, whom you sought to overthrow, Pizarro, whom you should have feared,
is here to claim his vengeance.
Florestan
I see a murderer before me!
Pizarro
Once more I will recall what you have done. But one more moment, and then this dagger…
Leonora
Stand back!
Florestan
O God!
Rocco
What’s this?
Leonora
First you must stab this heart of mine!
May death befall you for your murderous intent.
Pizarro
Are you mad?
Rocco
Stand back!
Florestan
O God!
Pizarro
He shall be punished for this!
Leonora
First kill his wife!
Pizarro and Rocco
His wife?
Florestan
My wife?
Leonora
Yes, I am Leonora!
Florestan
Leonora!
Leonora
I am his wife, and I have sworn to save him and destroy you!

Pizarro
What brazen daring!
Florestan
My heart stands still for joy!
Rocco
My blood runs cold with fear.
Leonora
I defy his wrath!
Destroy him!
Piu moto
Pizarro
Ha! Ha!
Shall I tremble before a woman? My fury shall claim you both.
Since you have shared your life with him, now you shall share his death.
Leonora
You shall not escape your doom! First you must stab this heart of mine!
Another word – and I will shoot!
(The trumpet is heard)
Ah! You are saved! Thank God!
Florestan
Ah! I am saved! Thank God!
Pizarro
Ha! The Minister! Hell and death!
Rocco
Ah! What was that? God is just!
(The trumpet is heard more loudly).

Jaquino
Father Rocco! The Minister has arrived.
Rocco
The Lord be praised! We’re coming, we’re coming at once!

Quartet. Leonora, Florestan Pizarro, Rocco.
Allegro
Leonora and Florestan
Now strikes the hour of vengeance, and you / I shall be delivered;
love combined with boldness has served to set you / me free.
Pizarro
Accursed be this hour, the traitors have foiled me!
Now my revenge is salted with despair.
Rocco
Oh hour of terror! What will the outcome be?
I will no longer serve this bloody tyrant.

Florestan
My Leonore! What have you done for me!
Leonora
Nothing, my Florestan.
Duet. Leonora, Florestan
Allegro vivace; Adagio; Tempo primo.

Leonora
O joy beyond expressing! My husband in my arms!
Florestan
O joy beyond expressing! Leonora in my arms!
Both
After untold sorrows such overwhelming joy!
Leonora
Once more you’re in my arms!
Florestan
O God, how great is Thy mercy!
Both
We thank Thee, Lord, for this great happiness!
Leonora
My husband once more in my arms!
Florestan
My wife once more in my arms! It’s really you!
Leonora
Yes, I am here!
Florestan
O heavenly rapture!
Leonora
It’s really you!
Florestan
Yes, I am here!
Leonora
O heavenly rapture!
Florestan
O Leonora!
Leonora
Florestan!
Both
O joy beyond expressing! After untold sorrows such overwhelming joy!
Florestan
My wife once more in my arms!
Both
Once more you’re in my arms! We thank Thee, Lord, for this great happiness!

Finale. Marcellina, Jaquino, Pizarro, Fernando, Chorus of prisoners,
Chorus of the town people.
Allegro vivace; Un poco maestoso; Poco vivace agitato; Meno allegro; Piu allegro;
Molto vivace; Sostenuto assai; Allegro ma non troppo; Presto molto.

Chorus of the prisoners and the people
Allegro vivace
Hail to the day, hail to the hour so long awaited and so long denied,
when Justice with mercy has appeared before the gate to our grave.
Fernando
Un poco maestoso
Our gracious king has sent me here to bear his royal pleasure to all suffers
and to dispel the evil cloud of darkness which has enveloped you in gloom and fear.
No longer kneel like slaves before me, far from me be tyrannic harshness.
A brother has come to seek his brothers, to help them, if he can, with all his heart.
Chorus of the prisoners and the people
Hail to the day, hail to the hour!
Fernando
A brother has come to seek his brothers, to help them, if he can, with all his heart.

Leonora, Florestan, Rocco
Poco vivace agitato
Rocco
Then here is one who needs your help!
Pizarro
Ha, what do I see?
Rocco
Does this sight move you?
Pizarro
Away! Away!
Fernando
No, speak out!
Rocco
May all your mercy centre on his couple. Don Florestan…
Fernando
Whom I thought dead, that noble soul who fought for truth?
Meno allegro
Rocco
And suffered endless torments.
Fernando
My friend! My friend whom I thought dead?
Pallid and in fetters he stands before me.
Rocco and Leonora
Yes, Florestan it is whom you see here.
Rocco
And Leonora.
Fernando
Leonora?
Piu allegro
Rocco
The crown of women I present to you. She came here…
Pizarro
Grant me a word –
Fernando
Not one! She came…
Rocco
Came to my door and worked as a lad in my service, serving me so well and faithfully
that I chose her – as my son-in-law.

Marcellina
Alas! what do I hear?
Rocco
This monster at this very moment intended Florestan’s murder.
Pizarro
With his aid!
Rocco
With our aid. Only your arrival called him away.
Chorus of the town people
Molto vivace
Let Nemesis fall on the villain who oppressed the innocent.
Let Justice draw her avenging sword in retribution.
Fernando
You opened this noble man’s grave, now remove his chains from him –
but wait! Noble lady, it is fitting that you alone should complete his liberty.
Sostenuto assai
Leonora
O Heavens! what a moment!
Florestan
O joy inexpressibly sweet!
Fernando
O God, Thy will is just.
Marcellina and Rocco
Thou triest us, but never dost forsake us.
All
O Heavens! what a moment! O joy inexpressibly sweet!
O God, Thy will is just: Thou triest us, but never dost forsake us.
Chorus of the prisoners and the town people
Allegro ma non troppo
He who has gained a loving wife, join in our rejoicing!
Never can we over-praise a wife who saves her husband
Florestan
Your loyalty saved my life, your courage deterred the villain.
Leonora
Love it is that guided me; steadfast love knows no fear.
Chorus of the prisoners and the town people
Let us in joy and ardour sing noble Leonora’s praise.
Florestan and Men’s Chorus
He who has gained a wife like this, join in our rejoicing!
Never can we over-praise a wife who saves her husband.
Leonora
Love it was that gave me strength to free you from your chains.
Lovingly let it be sung: Florestan is mine again.
Marcellina, Jaquino, Fernando, Rocco.
He who has gained a wife like this, join in our rejoicing!
Chorus
He who has gained a loving wife, join in our rejoicing!
Never can we over-praise a wife who saves her husband.
Leonora
Lovingly let it sung: Florestan is mine again!
Love it was that gave me strength to free you from your chains.
All
Never can we over-praise a wife who saves her husband.
Love it was that gave her / you strength to free him / me from his / my chains.

Learn about this topic in these articles:

career of Schröder-Devrient

  • In Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient

    …revival of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio in Vienna that same year. Both roles brought her tremendous acclaim. Indeed, she is often credited with much of the success of the revival of Fidelio, which had not been well received in its premiere.

    Read More

discussed in biography

  • In Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven and the theatre

    …also belongs his one opera, Fidelio, commissioned for the winter season of 1805. The play concerns a wife who disguises herself as a boy in order to rescue her husband, imprisoned for political reasons; in setting this to music, Beethoven was influenced by Ferdinando Paer and by Luigi Cherubini, composer…

    Read More

history of opera

  • In opera: Viennese masters

    >Fidelio (1805, revised 1806 and 1814) rose above the limitations of its singspiel genre, becoming something bigger and grander. The libretto (by Joseph Sonnleithner, after Jean-Nicolas Bouilly), inspired by French Revolutionary-era literature, has never satisfied anyone entirely, and some of the vocal lines seem more…

    Read More