There are both good and bad things to be said about Calixto Bieito's production of Fidelio. On the positive side, the music conducted by Edward Gardner is superb and energetic, the singing is also very good.

On the negative side, the staging is quite challenging and the flow of the opera is hindered by some odd choices. The set, which blinks with fluorescent lights and moves about looks like a jungle gym of the future as imagined by someone in 1980. It's supposed to be a prison, but all the prisoners are wearing suits.

The set does make for some nice tableaus at various points, for example when a string quartet is lowered in cages to play a random bit of Beethoven. It looks great, but it doesn't help move the opera along or enhance our understanding of the action.

Overall then, a very weired performance of a very good opera.

This production of Fidelio is playing at the London Coliseum until the 17th of October, 2013

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