12 Dec 2020 19.00 GMT


A dramatic concert performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, streamed live from Leeds Town Hall.

This romantic melodrama, inspired by a true story from the French Revolution, speaks to our times with its themes of isolation, liberty and humanity. Fidelio is actually Leonore, a noblewoman disguised as a boy in search of her husband, Florestan, who has been unjustly imprisoned by tyrannical political opponent Don Pizarro. Fidelio secures a job as a prison guard and sets in motion a chain of events in which she must risk everything to save her husband’s life…

An impressive cast of internationally-renowned singers including Rachel Nicholls, Toby Spence, Robert Hayward and Brindley Sherratt is conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. Accompanied by a 33-piece orchestra and 24-strong chorus this will be one of the largest on-stage ensembles since the COVID-19 outbreak. The powerful and poignant music includes highlights such as the moving Prisoners’ Chorus and the thrilling trumpet call as the drama reaches its climax.

Watch it live online at 7pm on Saturday 12 December. If you can't watch it live, please note that there will be a short break after the livestream while we prepare and upload the recording. The recorded version will be available to watch until 11:59pm on Saturday 19 December.

Join in on social #ONFidelio

Cast & Creative

Rachel Nicholls – LEONORE
Toby Spence – FLORESTAN
Brindley Sherratt – ROCCO
Oliver Johnston – JAQUINO
Robert Hayward – DON PIZARRO

Mark Wigglesworth – CONDUCTOR
Matthew Eberhardt – DIRECTOR



In a prison, Marzelline, daughter of the jailer, Rocco, rejects the attentions of her father's assistant, Jacquino. Her heart is set instead on the new errand boy, Fidelio. The latter is distressed by Marzelline's interest in him. Fidelio is in fact Leonore, a noblewoman of Seville who has come to the jail disguised as a man to find her husband, Florestan, a political prisoner. When Rocco mentions a man lying near death in the vaults below, Leonore, begs Rocco to take her on his rounds, suspecting this might be him.

Don Pizarro, prison governor, learns that Don Fernando, minister of state, is on his way to inspect the prison, so resolves to kill Florestan without delay. Leonore, overhearing his plan, prays for strength to save her husband. She again begs Rocco to let her accompany him to the condemned man's cell.


Florestan dreams he sees Leonore arrive to free him. Rocco and Leonore arrive and begin digging the grave, as they have been ordered. Florestan awakens, not recognizing his wife. Rocco blows on his whistle to signal to Pizarro that all is ready. The governor advances with dagger drawn to strike, but Leonore stops him with a pistol. At this moment Don Fernando arrives. Rocco leads Pizarro out to meet him as Leonore and Florestan rejoice.

Don Fernando proclaims justice for all. He is amazed when Rocco brings his friend Florestan to him and relates the details of Leonore's heroism. Pizarro is arrested. The other prisoners too are freed, and the crowd hails Leonore.