Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner and Georg Frideric Treitschke
First performed: 1814
A prison, in which Florestan has been secretly imprisoned by the governor, Pizarro. Florestan's wife, Leonore, has been looking for him since his disappearance two years ago – she does not even know whether he is alive. Disguised as a youth and calling herself Fidelio, she has found her way into the prison as an assistant to Rocco, the jailer.
Jaquine, the prison porter, wants to marry Marzelline, Rocco's daughter, but she refuses because she has fallen in love with Fidelio. Leonore makes the best of the situation to earn Rocco's confidence – he even tells her about his secrete prisoner.
Pizarro learns that the Minister plans a surprise inspection of the prison and he resolves to dispose of Florestan immediately. Rocco refuses a bribe to murder the prisoner but does agree to dig a grave for the corpse.
Leonore persuades Rocco to allow the prisoners into the open air.
Leonore and Rocco come down to Florestan's cell to prepare the grave. Leonore has resolved to save the prisoner, whoever he is, before she recognizes Florestan's voice. Just as Pizarro is about to knife him, Leonore reveals her identity and stops Pizarro with a gun.
A trumpet announces the arrival of the Minister. Leonore and Florestan are reunited.
The people cheer the Minister, who comes to ensure that the King's justice is done. He is astonished when he finds that Florestan has been victim of Pizarro's vendetta; he arrests Pizarro and gives Leonore the keys to release her husband. Florestan and the people sing praise of Leonore.
Back to full list
Already a member?
Sign in now to access the members only area
Not a member?
Join now to receive priority booking, invitations to dress rehearsals and members-only events and much more.