Today is the anniversary of Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera, premiering at Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1805. While Beethoven was a prolific artist, composing nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets and numerous concertos with a myriad of instruments, Fidelio was his only attempt at musical theater. Written during Beethoven’s middle period (1802-1812), Fidelio was the composer’s largest work to date, and although it was a critical failure at first, Beethoven revised the opera over several years, tailoring the libretto to perfection. After a renewal in Beethoven’s popularity during his late period (1812-1827), Fidelio was revived and became a massive commercial success.
“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” —
Ludwig van Beethoven