In the 250th year since the birth of Beethoven, his only opera Fidelio is popping up all over. Especially in Vienna, where all three versions of the opera can be seen this season. Yes, it actually had three premieres—1805, 1806, 1814—and it was called Leonore until 1814, when the title switched from the heroine’s real name to the false name “Fidelio,” which she dons with her disguise as a prison guard. This production is the 1814 incarnation, which was a triumph. The story: Leonore attempts to save her husband, a political prisoner facing death, by disguising herself as the prison guard Fidelio. Bravery leads to liberty. “This music,” said the German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, “will always represent an appeal to our conscience.” —L.J.
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