This Zurich Fidelio doesn't quite come to the level of the 1970, 1978, 2002 and 1963 performances, but it is up there with one of the better Fidelios on DVD around. The production values are very good, there is an expressionistic feel but the prison setting still feels like one. I also love how the light is oblique to start with and then gets brighter in the more hopeful and redeeming moments at the end. The orchestral playing is both stylish and powerful, the horns in Komm Hoffnung are especially thrilling, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt's conducting is both alert and subtle. The chorus manage to give a poignant O Welche Lust and a rousing Heil Sei Dem Tag. The staging is always believable and compelling. The performances are right on the money. Christoph Stehl as Jacquino is perhaps a little too staid dramatically but more than makes up for it by his beautiful voice. But the opera is not about the Jacquino. It is about the Leonore(aka Fidelio), and Camilla Nylund is more than up to the task. She is attractive and has a lovely silvery quality to her voice that still sails above the orchestra with ease. She is a very good actress as well. She is more than well-supported by Jonas Kaufmann as Leonore's husband Florestan. I did worry that the role was too heavy for him, but as ever Kaufmann brings a beautiful baritonal warmth and impeccable musicianship to his singing, and his In Des Lebens is deeply moving. His rapport with Nylund is intense and poignant. Laszlo Polgar is a sympathetic Rocco, and his voice has an ideal amount of nobility to it. Alfred Muff's Don Pizzaro is a tyrant through and through and he sings with dark richness without resorting to shouting or blustering like some Pizarros have. The Marzelline of Elizabeth Rae Magnuson is charming, and Gunther Groissbock brings a vocal sonority and dignity to Fernando. In conclusion, a wonderful Fidelio from Zurich. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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