An exciting opera made accessible to all

The cast of Fidelio, by Opera Minima
The cast of Fidelio, by Opera Minima

REVIEW: Opera Minima presents Leonore’s Story, otherwise known as Fidelio by Ludwig Van Beethoven at Great Easton Church, November 11.

Beethoven’s “Fidelio” is not an opera I knew.

It is rarely performed, as it contains spoken dialogue by the lead singer, so can be clumsy.

However in the deft hands of Opera Minima director Gillian Leftwich, this exciting opera became accessible to us all.

The older Leonore reads from her memoirs on a book reading tour (from the church pulpit) and down below the story is unfolded by glorious singing, in German, and fine acting from this talented company.

The story requires little suspension of disbelief and is set in Franco’s Spain.

Leonore fights to release her husband, Florestan, from the depths of a Spanish state prison, where he is held by a seemingly crazed prison governor, Pizarro.

Rutland boy Robert Gildon, singing Pizarro, has an amazing powerful voice and frighteningly strong presence. He even appears to cow that OM favourite Adam Leftwich, as the jailer Rocco.

Elizabeth Stannard, as Leonore, has a thrilling and beautiful voice.

When she sang next to where I sat, prickles ran down my spine!

Another special moment was in the half darkened church, when Florestan’s voice was first heard, crying out on a fading note. A moving performance from Ben Thapa .

Even though Florestan is saved, thousands of prisoners world wide will never be free.

Fidelio is a dramatic opera that reminds us that freedom is a luxury we should never take for granted. Opera Minima gave audiences an intense and exciting operatic experience

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