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Fidelio was caught live at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1980 and is well-recorded. Lorin Maazel’s conducting is spacious, almost reverential at times, and the orchestral playing is superlative, the sheen unsurpassed. Éva Marton throws her considerable all at Leonore, generally an exciting portrayal that captures both the size and voluptuous quality of her soprano. Lilian Watson’s faster-toned voice is also exemplary as Marzelline. The lower voices are wonderfully contrasted – Tom Krause, Theo Adam and Aage Haugland – but there is a problem with James King’s Florestan whose opening ‘Gott!’ is a cry of anguish in more ways than one; this really is the voice of a man in extremis and makes for uncomfortable listening. ‘Leonore No. 3’ is inserted, and even those who disagree with this will have to admit that it is magnificently played.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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