Beethoven's Only Opera


“Fidelio” first premiered on Nov. 20, 1805 and is the only opera composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven. Ludwig van Beethoven wrote and premiered his only opera, Fidelio on November 20th, 1805, in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien. Fidelio takes place in Seville, Spain during the 18th Century. The Story of Fidelio. Fidelio is the only opera composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. No score was so frequently reworked by the composer who, with his customary obstinacy, managed to make his work a success by defying events, censorship and failure. “This opera will earn me a martyr’s crown,” Beethoven said of this hymn to freedom and marital fidelity. Another unique aspect:this unique lyric work celebrates the victory of an exceptional woman who embodies courage and moral strength in the face of arbitrary. Beethoven struggled to produce an appropriate overture for Fidelio, and ultimately went through four versions. The libretto, with some spoken dialogue, tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named 'Fidelio', rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.

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Beethoven's Only Opera Crossword

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1st version: ca. October 1805; 2nd version: March 1806; 3rd version: 1814.
Text poets: Jean Nicolas Bouilly, Joseph Sonnleithner, Stephan von Breuning, Georg Friedrich Treitschke


Beethoven's Only Opera Called


Already as an adolescent, Beethoven was very interested in literature and always looking for a suitable theme for an opera. In 1801 his successful ballet 'The creatures of Prometheus' brought him the first attention of the Vienna theatre world. In early 1803, the director of the 'Theatre an der Wien', Emanuel Schickaneder, asked Beethoven to compose an opera based on one of his librettos. In late 1803 Beethoven took a look at the textbook for 'Vesta's fire' but stopped working on the project due to the poor text quality. In 1804, Baron Peter von Braun became the new theatre director and concluded a new contract with Beethoven regarding the composition of an opera, namely 'Leonore'. The libretto was based on a rather successful theme taken from the French Revolution and had been set to music several times. The French original by Jean Nicolas Bouilly was translated by Joseph Sonnleithner, secretary at the Vienna court theatre.

After a long and productive working phase - a number of other great pieces were written between 1804/05 - Beethoven finished the score of his first opera in the autumn of 1805. The first performance was on November 20, 1805 at the 'Theatre an der Wien'. However, the piece resulted in a failure and was taken off the repertoire after only two performances.

Fidelio Beethoven Opera

In December 1805 Beethoven decided to review the opera: The plot was shortened and the former three acts were changed into two. The second version of 'Fidelio' was presented on stage at the 'Theatre an der Wien' on March 29 and April 10, 1806. Although the performance was more successful this time, the opera was suspended again after its second presentation because Beethoven withdrew the score after a dispute with the artistic director.

Fidelio Opera

His only opera then sunk into oblivion and was neither performed nor demanded. Only in 1814 did the situation change: Three stage managers of the Court Opera, Ignaz Saal, Johann Michael Vogl and Karl Friedrich Weinmüller contacted Beethoven. They were allowed to organise an opera performance without any cost in their own favour and could freely chose the piece: Beethoven's opera. Under the condition to thoroughly review and adapt the piece, Beethoven agreed. The text should be revised as well. This time, Beethoven had the libretto virtually rewritten by an experienced professional, director Georg Friedrich Treitschke. After a renewed review or adaptation 'Fidelio's' final version was performed for the first time on May 23, 1814 and became a great success. (Text source: Beethoven-Haus Bonn)