The superb players of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra led by Marek Janowski shine in a new recording of Beethoven’s Fidelio (PENTATONE PTC5186880)

Janowski proves himself once more the ideal conductor of German opera, opening with a movingly eloquent reading of Beethoven’s Leonore Overture, and then drawing out a performance from his cast, chorus and orchestra rich in colors and attentive to textual details.

The cast features the plush voiced Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen as Leonore, who sings Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? with unflappable aplomb, balancing lyricism and dramatic heft.

The resonant Christian Elsner as Florestan, the object of Lonore’s heroic search, rides with rock solid assurance the implacably difficult tessitura of his assignments in act II leading up to the reunion duet with his wife.

The other roles are filled to perfection by basses Georg Zeppenfeld, an impressive Rocco and Günther Groissböck, a noble Don Fernando.

Baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle is a menacing and well sung Don Pizzarro. The supple voiced Soprano Christina Landshamer as Marzelline and the ringing tenor Cornel Frey as Jaquino round out the cast.

Fidelio is the iconic rescue opera, celebrating love and courage in a fight against tyranny and injustice. PENTATONE’s release of Beethoven’s masterpiece was recorded in two studio sessions, with two superb choirs: the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, and the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. Both shine in the two great choral moments of this opera: the finale and the prisoner’s chorus.

The engineering and all the production details of this recording are uniformly excellent.

Rafael de Acha       ALL ABOUT THE ARTS