The only opera by Beethoven: Fidelio

Ludwig Van Beethoven, a mysterious and charming man, a genius, but also a human being with flaws and vulnerabilities.

Not everyone knows that Beethoven also wrote an opera: “Fidelio”. It premiered in Vienna on the 20 th of November 1805, during the French occupation. Its original source was a drama by Jean-Nicolas Boully and it was performed 3 times. The final version is composed of two acts and it is characterized by a famous genre of that time, the pièce à sauvetage, in which the positive heroes eventually triumph after suffering many unjust persecutions.

The first representation had little success, also due to the harsh political climate, while the last performance won the hearts of a huge public and it was staged all over Europe. Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, on the 17 th of November 1770, to a disastrous family: an alcoholic
and abusive father, a sickly mother and six brothers. Four of them never came of age. He had to face the difficulties of life since he was born, but still cherishing his outstanding talent.

Beethoven has been described as a short and stocky man, rude and with a really bad temper. Moreover, he suffered from several upsets since he was little, most importantly a premature deafness, that will make him wish to commit suicide later in his life.

The musician displayed his talent at a young age, but he really conquered the artistic scene when he moved to Vienna, the city that will appreciate him the most. He proved to be a real artist by getting the inspiration from his heart and not from the commissions he received. Through his astonishing music, alternating moments of great intensity to more gentle ones, he managed to deeply move the society of that time, touching their souls with his spontaneous and brilliant music.

Nevertheless, his artistic success never resembled his public life, characterized by solitude, sorrow and neglect. His illness was one of the main reasons for this isolation, because it prevented him from enjoying the company of others. Even in his love life he couldn’t find rest, because the noble women he knew because of his job were always leaving him heartbroken.

He died on the 26 th of November 1827, at the age of 56, leaving his testament in the drawer. The testament would be found by his friend Anton Schindler, “The Heiligenstadt Testament”, where he confessed his desperation due to his illness and the love for a woman. Beethoven was a passionate man until his last breath and he left behind many priceless masterpieces that changed the music history forever.


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