All-Star Cast of Fidelio Arrives at the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra Workshop

Today, Wednesday, July 29th, the world-renowned cast of Fidelio arrived in Pilas, Spain to begin rehearsals with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for its tenth anniversary tour. Waltraud Meier, Simon O'Neill, Peter Mattei, Jon Tomlinson, Adriana Kucerova, Stephan Rügamer, and Viktor Rud all bravely faced temperatures around 40 degrees celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) together with Barenboim and the rest of the musicians as they began their work on Beethoven's opera, which is set in nearby Seville. Michael Steinberg, director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University, was present at rehearsals to explain the plot and its historical and cultural associations as the young orchestra progressed through the work. Waltraud Meier read Edward Said's narrative aloud in English to the orchestra to familiarize them with his text, which replaces the dialogues from the original libretto (see news item about the Divan's tenth anniversary tour). Fidelio is the first complete opera the orchestra will perform; last year's tour program included the first act of Die Walküre. Over the next few sweltering days of rehearsal and discussion, the orchestra will be examining the universal aspects of Beethoven's tribute to freedom and justice, both in the music and in the text. The first performance of Fidelio, which will be given in concert version, is scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, in Seville's Teatro de la Maestranza.

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