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Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera, was not well received by contemporary audiences, but it has come to be regarded as a core masterpiece

16th February, 2020
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Sinéad Campbell-Wallace. Picture: Frances Marshall

Apart from his impending deafness, probably the greatest torment of Ludwig van Beethovenas career was his struggle with opera – of which he wrote just one, and that only after persevering with the genre for 15 years.

Fidelio really put him through the musical mangle, not because he had a difficulty music-wise, but because his expectation of himself was not that of a first-timer, but that of one of the greatest-in-waiting. As we know, Beethoven did...

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