Irish National Opera presents Beethoven’s Fidelio

Posted 1 month ago in Arts & Culture Features

Irish National Opera continues its return to opera for live audiences with Beethoven’s uplifting rescue opera Fidelio. For the first time since November 2019, the company is in front of an audience with full orchestra, chorus and cast in the atmospheric setting of the Gaiety Theatre. Known as one of the most beautiful scores ever composed for opera, Beethoven perfectly captures the emotions felt by each character – sentiments of love, compassion and pain are all present and exquisitely reflected in the musical scoring.  Five performances of Fidelio take place between Sunday 7 and Saturday 13 November.

The plot of Fidelio is based on a true story from the time of the French Revolution and is the only opera ever composed by Beethoven. Originally titled Leonore, it took Beethoven a decade to compose. In the opera the main character, Leonore, disguises herself as a man — Fidelio — to rescue her husband who has been unjustly imprisoned by a political rival.

INO’s artistic director Fergus Sheil, who conducts the performances, says “I can think of nothing more appropriate for the current moment in history. This opera is the literal story of getting out of jail – being released from captivity, emerging from darkness to light. It is a journey of courage, resilience and triumph over adversity. Leonore stands out as a beacon of love, determination and strength. She rescues her incarcerated husband Florestan from a terrible fate. Despite darkness and hopeless imprisonment, love and truth win out. I am delighted that it’s such an uplifting work that will bring live opera back to audiences in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.”

Award winning director Annabelle Comyn directs Fidelio. Her last opera Andrew Synnott’s Dubliners for Opera Theatre Company and Wexford Festival Opera (2017) was described as a “festival highlight” and received five stars from the Irish Examiner. For Annabelle, “Leonore demonstrates extraordinary courage in a society governed by fear and built on corruption. Contemporary parallels are many, and the production draws on these. Leonore lives in a place where voicing dissent against the ruling regime can lead to arrest and imprisonment without trial.”

Wexford soprano Sinéad Campbell Wallace, who performed Andrew Hamilton’s erth upon erth in INO’s highly-praised online project, 20 Shots of Opera, makes her INO stage debut as Leonore. She has already won high praise in this opera as “a remarkable Leonore, vocally and dramatically” (Opera magazine). She says she is thrilled once again singing the role “a character of integrity, passion, bravery and hope: a role model for the modern day woman”.

British tenor Robert Murray (“a clear voice suffused with brightness, great diction, solid highs” Bachtrack) is her imprisoned husband Florestan. Australian bass Daniel Sumegi (“fine-edged projection and haughty severity” Sydney Morning Herald) is the prison guard Rocco. Wexford soprano Kelli-Ann Masterson (“She possesses a captivating soprano, characterized by its crisp, pure tone” Operawire) is Marzelline. American baritone Brian Mulligan (“a fine, strong, open baritone” Financial Times) is the corrupt prison governer, Don Pizarro. Clare tenor Dean Power is Rocco’s assistant, Jacquino, and Limerick bass- baritone David Howes is Don Fernando. Set and costumes are by the award-winning designer Francis O’Connor, with lighting by Paul Keogan. Fidelio is sung in German with English surtitles.



Gaiety Theatre, Dublin

Sunday 7 November 5pm

Tuesday 9, Wednesday 10, Friday 12 and Saturday 13 November 7.30pm



Fidelio In Focus

A free (but ticketed) online introduction to the opera by Deborah Kelleher

Monday 1 November  7pm.


For more information see


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