By Joel DeVyldere
Cascadia Concert Opera is bringing their production of Fidelio to Corvallis in early October. Beethoven’s only opera is a spirited show about love in the face of tyranny, which finds heroine Lenore struggling to meaningfully challenge authority in order to save her husband, Florestan.
The plot of Fidelio revolves around the couple’s plight. Lenore, played by Jane Hacket, sneaks into the prison where Florestan, played by Junction City’s Brennen Guillory, is wrongly held as a political prisoner by order of Pizarro, the nobleman he tried to expose. Unsurprisingly, the show has historically been connected with popular protest of totalitarianism. Fidelio first played in French-occupied Vienna during the Napoleanic wars. The show later became the first opera to play in Berlin after WWII, and played again in Dresden amid the unrest that marked the last few weeks before the Berlin wall came down.
OSU’s Nicholas Larson plays Jaquino, the jailer’s assistant. A Springfield native, Larson travelled as far away as Chicago, L.A. and Kansas City before coming back to teach and perform in the mid-Valley in 2006. His favorite musical moment from this show is the Act I quartet “Mir ist so wunderbar,” which he describes as “goosebumps-gorgeous.”
Larson sees the broader message of the show from yet another angle. “What I’ve come to appreciate lately about Fidelio in particular and opera in general is the presence of strong, principled female characters… Lenore is clearly a woman who has no issue in standing up for what’s right.”
Fidelio plays at the First Congregational UCC, 4515 SW West Hills Rd., on Thursday, October 2, at 7 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10 for the public and $5 for students.