jane's blog

Friday, August 24, 2007

Paer's Leonora and Beethoven's Leonore & Fidelio

In Italy, with Italian sung and spoken dialogue-Singspiel Style of the day-a significantly worthy classical composer, named Ferdinando Paer, composed an opera with the story idea of a Spanish woman willing to present herself as a young lad in the household of the prison jail keeper-in whose prison her husband is being contained-in order to win household trust and liberate her husband from tyranny. Paer called his opera creation LEONORA (Fedele, Leonora as a lad)). Paer's opera, LEONORA, was viewed by an enthusiastic Beethoven, who, influenced by Paer, became interested to create his own rendition of the Paer opera story. In Beethoven's opera rendition, he composed the story, also Singspiel Style of the day, to be sung and spoken in German-Beethoven's language and that of the original Singspiel Style. Beethoven called his opera creation LEONORE (Fidelio, Leonore as a lad).
Both Paer's LEONORA and Beethoven's LEONORE reveal a stylistically busy vocal and musical floridity mass-respecting the story's Singspiel Style humor, though not underlining enough the story's strong expression of faith.
Beethoven, advised by friends, refined his opera LEONORE-clearly also feeling that his musical and vocal floridity were superfluous to the expression of faith in the story.
In Beethoven's ultimate refining of LEONORE, he clearly undresses the opera of extras altogether, convulsing it into an electric current of Beethoven's own devout humaneness. The opera becomes an imbalance, then, of emotional energies, but a magnificent thriller expression of faith in liberty and the loathing of tyranny. Beethoven calls this NEW creation of LEONORE, FIDELIO. The rewriting of LEONORE shows that, in the case of FIDELIO, less zaps winningly and exaltingly into more!
I recall, with huge excitement, the pleasure of my own catharsis with all three of these operatic pieces, having sung the Paer in Parma (in Italian, as written) and both Beethovens in Genoa (in German, as written). Each of these operas has a significance of it's own, still, and could win-each exclusive unto itself-large public interest, today, but the magnificence of FIDELIO remains overpoweringly exemplary of commanding potency.

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