Today, we share these quotes representing perspectives on the opera from conductors, past and present.
The conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler observed, not long after the defeat of Nazism, “that now that political events in Germany have restored to the concepts of human dignity and liberty to their original significance, this is the opera which, thanks to the music of Beethoven, gives us comfort and courage.”
These quotes come from the article written by the American art critic and philosopher, Arthur Danto in Fidelio: Lenore: Jun Kaneko. Arthur Danto was an American art critic, philosopher, long-time art critic for the Nation and Johnsonian Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Columbia University.
“Jun Kaneko’s brilliant production is for our time and for all times.”
“…the miracle of Kaneko’s design is that he has found an architectural metaphor for the duality of good and evil by dividing the gridded space of the stage between white and black.”
“The white space to the audience’s left is the space of love and freedom, the black space for oppression, the suppression of truth and the torment of undeserved penal brutality. The white space is the realm of marriage, the black space of the miscarriage of justice. Marriage, because it is through spiritual union that love is fulfilled in the form of life the characters live.”
Music Director Corrado Rovaris premiered the production designed by Jun Kaneko at Opera Company of Philadelphia in 2009. When speaking about Fidelio, he said, “The work begins almost as an opera buffa, opening with the portrayal of the jailer’s family: little by little, the opera becomes more dramatic and somber as it depicts dark, mysterious danger and evil.”
“ At the most insidious moment, when the drama is most bleak and death seems inescapable, the composer makes us long for salvation. That possibility is planted like a seed in the midst of the deepest despair, and it is quietly developed, a loaded secret triumphantly revealed. They will live, they will be free and the climax contains a promise for all humanity. This is Beethoven.”