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This section is not intended to be a review of existing CDs. Good critics have done this already, and are experts on the subject. I just wish to draw your attention to particular works and interpretations.
Title Leonore: The 1805 version of Beethoven's Opera
Beethoven on cd
The Liepzig Orchestra
Berlin Classics - 1995

This is the CD of the first version of Leonore, that of 1805 (Hess 109).

The opera was put to music by Beethoven following the libretto by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly "Leonore or marital love". After over 2 years of work, Beethoven presented his opera to the Theater an der Wien on November 20th 1805, a few days after Napolean's army entered Vienna. After just three performances the opera was taken off stage.

Conducted by Herbert BLOMSTEDT.

The principal roles are played by: Edda Moser (Leonore), Richard Cassily (Florestan), Theo Adam (Don Pizzaro), Hermann Christian Polster (Don Fernando) and Karl Ridderbusch (Rocco)...

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The 1805 version has also been recorded by John Eliot GARDINER: SearchBuy from
By Ferdinand LEITNER: SearchBuy from
And by Hans ALTMANN: SearchBuy from
Title Leonore: The 1806 version of Beethoven's Opera

This CD is the 1806 version of "Leonore or the triumph of marital love". It is therefore the second version. Numerous cuts have been made from the original version, which was judged too long.

A final version appeared in 1814, entitled Fidelio.

Interpreted by Marc Soustrot.

The principal roles are played by: Pamela Coburn (Leonore), Mark Baker (Florestan), Jean-Philippe Lafont (Don Pizzaro) and Victor von Halem (Rocco)...
Beethoven on cd
The Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle Bonn
MDG - 1998
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Title Fidelio: the last version of the opera of Beethoven

The performances and the performers of Fidelio are numerous.

The harmony between the orchestra, choir, soloists and conductor is perfect.

Here is probably the best version we strongly recommend.

Christa Ludwig (Leonore)
Jon Vickers (Florestan)
Walter Berry (Don Pizarro)
Gottlob Frick (Rocco)
Ingeborg Hallstein (Marzelline)
Gerhard Unger (Jaquino)
Franz Crass (Don Fernando)

Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus


Disque Beethoven
Emi Classics - 1962
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Title Fidelio in English, Russian or Italian

In English:
Bruno WALTER (highlights)

Fidelio - Beethoven
In Italian:
Vittorio GUI

Fidelio - Beethoven
In Russian:
- - Search

Dispo sur Amazon
Title Fidelio on DVD directed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt

“The live recording of the Zurich Opera of the spring of 2004 is an extraordinary document retracing the exceptional work of the team involved together, of a visionary conductor (Nikolaus Harnoncourt) and a discrete but convincing staging (Jürgen Flimm). To be heard in the title role is the excellent Camilla Nylund beside Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan, at the best of his form.” (BMG)

Staging: Jürgen Flimm.

Choir and Orchestra of the Zurich Opera, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.


  • Camilla Nylund (Leonore)
  • Jonas Kaufmann (Florestan)
  • Alfred Muff (Don Pizzarro)
  • László Pólgár (Rocco)
  • Elizabeth Rae Magnuson (Marzelline)
  • Christoph Strehl (Jaquino)
  • Günther Groissböck (Don Fernando)
  • Boguslaw Bidzinski (premier prisonnier)
  • Gabriel Bermúdez (second prisonnier).

.Technological information:
Sound: PCM stereo Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS 5.1
Subtitles: French, German, Italian, English and Spanish.

DVD Fidelio Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt - 2004
Choir and Orchestra of the Zurich Opera
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Title Fidelio on DVD directed by James Levine

There are a few performances of Fidelio on DVD. But the difference, this version provides us with pleasures and thrills.

The story of Leonore and Florestan is transposed to modern times, in a rich and searching staging.

The execution of the soloists is remarkable and their voices touch the spectator, through their sonorous quality transmitted through your television.

The principle roles are held with spirit by: Karita Mattila (Leonore), Ben Heppner (Florestan), Falk Struckmann (Don Pizzaro) and René Pape (Rocco).

DVD zone 0 (all countries) - sub-titles available - Bonus: small photo gallery.

Fidelio on DVD
James Levine - 2002
Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra and Chrorus
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Title Fidelio: Beethoven's opera explained

This CD is certainly remarkable: it quickly introduces Beethoven then attaches a telling of the story of Fidelio, with a number of musical extracts, without patronizing the audience.

The journey is very interesting and forms and excellent first approach to this opera.

It is also perhaps appropriate for connoisseurs, as well as those who don't know Fidelio or are not familiar with opera music.

Written by Thomson Smillie
Narrated by David Timson

Beethoven's Fidelio explained
Naxos - 2003
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Many thanks to Melanie PIDDOCKE and Hannah SALTER
for their translations of this page from French into English
© Dominique PREVOT
Music Sheet Plus

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