With the production of “Fidelio” – the only opera in Beethoven’s enormous work, Sofia Opera and Ballet proved, that there’s nothing accidental about the acclaimed by the Bulgarian and foreign critique and very much liked by the audience operas from the cycle “Der Ring des Niebelungen” by Wagner, presented in June. Good taste and first class were demonstrated also in the second German language title in the theatre’s repertoire in 2013. Not only to save costs for the expensive sets, but also to show a new and unusual look towards Beethoven’s interesting work, the director Hans-Joachim Frey took the risk to “weave” the texts of the recently deceased modern German philosopher, expert in political science and literary critic Walter Jens into the musical dramaturgy of Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterpiece. His philosophical reflections with “Rocco’s stories”, presented with skill and passion by the narrator Marius Donkin, sound as an integral part of the whole – the production of “Fidelio”. The director took a moderate risk with the bilingual speech in the half-concert, half-spectacle, which has already been presented in the same way before other foreign audience. The multimedia effects and the moderate lightning of the scenographer Pavlina Kotseva contribute to the fact, that such a spectacle can give not less joy than a classical interpretation to the opera audience, droughty for the different and the unusual, besides, without requiring from it special preparation or some special knowledge. In this respect, Ludwig van Beethoven’s music tells its own, dominating over everything.
The soloists – both the Bulgarian ones and the guests Kurt Rydl, famous with his over 300 recreations of the role of Rocco, and the younger, but already having sung on most prestigious stages the part of Florestan, Endrick Wottrich, succeeded with artisticism and ease to overcome the obstacles of this new form to present Beethoven’s work. With his master interpretation Rydl conquered both vocally and artistically the exigent Bulgarian audience and was visibly happy after the spectacle’s end. “It happened so, that I had to choose between the Sofia’s “Fidelio” and the premiere and 11 following spectacles of “Der Rosenkavalier” in Antwerp. I had no hesitation to choose Sofia and I am very glad, that I became part of this feast. Besides on a stage, on which I stepped with maximum modesty and reverence before such great talents as Ghena Dimitrova, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Nikola Gyuzelev, which I knew personally, with who I have sung many times and who I appreciate very much!”
For Endrick Wottich, a Florestan, for whom many theatres could dream for, the spectacle in Sofia will also remain an unforgettable experience. He is convinced that the messages of Beethoven’s only opera are clear and close to any person. Both with Rydl they share the opinion, that “Fidelio” should be performed in every theatre at least twice a year. “This is necessary, so that people could on and on turn back to primordial values as freedom and love – so necessary in our days”, is their categorical statement.
For Mariana Zvetkova the role of Leonore is a serial Rubicon which she crossed with ease and persuasion after her Brünhilde from “Der Ring des Niebelungen” to be remembered. This is the second serious application of the performer for great qualities in the hard German language repertoire. From now on, the audience will expect with impatience her new recreations on the stage of Sofia Opera and Ballet.
Silvna Pravcheva in the role of Marzelline proved not less convincing why she is among the preferred performers in our first opera theatre. Her Freya from “Das Rheingold” and her remarkable performance of “Fünf Wesendonck-Lieder” by Wagner in the first Night of the theatres in our country are still remembered. In “Fidelio” she revealed new characteristics of her impressive talent.
We could pay only compliments also to the rest of the performers in the premiere unique production of “Fidelio”. Biser Georgiev as Don Pizarro was worthy partner of Rydl and Wottrich. The same could be said about Dimitar Stanchev in the role of Don Fernando, Krasimir Dinev as Jaquino and Nikolay Ivanov and Anton Radev as First and Second prisoner.
The chorus of Sofia Opera and Ballet supported in a wonderful way the performance of the soloists, backed up by the mature interpretation of Beethoven’s work by the orchestra, conducted by maestro Grigor Palikarov.
And so, one interesting and provoking experiment of Sofia Opera and Ballet, supported by the admirations of the full house gives all reasons to expect with still more hopes the new 2014.