“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” — Ludwig van Beethoven, German Composer and Pianist
Today is the anniversary of ”Fidelio”, German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera, premiering at Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1805. While Beethoven was a prolific artist, composing nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets and numerous concertos with a myriad of instruments, “Fidelio” was his only attempt at musical theater. The tale of a woman’s desperate attempt to rescue her husband from certain death as a political prisoner, “Fidelio” is a classic opera that is still performed more than two centuries after its debut performance. Written during a time that has been labeled by art critics as Beethoven’s middle period (1802-1812), “Fidelio” was the composer’s largest work to date, and although it was a critical failure at first, Beethoven revised the opera over several years, tailoring the libretto to perfection. After a renewal in Beethoven’s popularity during his late period (1812-1827), “Fidelio” was revived and became a massive commercial success.