Alan's Blog...It's all Gesamtkunstwerk to me!

Thoughts from nearly 40 years on the professional stage

Fidelio in Amsterdam...Beethoven finally gets it right

Last night was my 87th performance of “Fidelio” (95 will be under my belt by the end of this run in Amsterdam). I’ve played three different roles in this opera over the years. My first outing was as the Second Prisoner in a wonderful production in Washington, D.C. back in 1988. James McCracken sang his last operatic performances during that run as Florestan. I went on to sing Don Fernando many times in various places but have been singing, primarily, the bad guy role of Don Pizzaro these past many years. As the prisoners are always freed by Don Fernando at the end of the opera and Pizzaro is lead away to jail (or, depending on the production, execution), perhaps I should have kept to playing one of the smaller roles. There are many baritones who don’t relish the chance to play Pizzaro. I’ve made him a specialty and always enjoy my evenings as the evil Governor. Last night was no exception to this rule and we had a very fine opening night. How can you not be swept away by Beethoven’s incredible music. Of course, he struggled himself with getting it “just right” as is evidence by the various versions he produced. But I think we’ve got a pretty good version with just the right amount of dialogue here in Amsterdam. I’m very happy to return to this wonderful production by Robert Carsen that we first premiered back in 2003. It’s great to revisit a classic. With a strong cast and chorus and an excellent condcutor, Marc Albrecht, leading the Nederlands Kamerorkest, we had a excellent evening of music and drama. Here is a clip from the production from nearly 8 years ago when it was new.