A New Aria for Leonore 1805

The New York Times reports a reconstruction of a long-lost aria for Florestan from the first version of Leonore.

Working from a continuity draft and sketches in the Leonore Sketchbook in Berlin, Crutchfield has reconstructed a portion of Florestan’s opening to Act III in which he remembers happier times, instead of just the resignation and gloom he projects in the 1806 version and in Fidelio.

What quickly became clear from the sketches is that the part Beethoven cut out had been the heart of the scene.

“He draws a portrait from his breast,” the libretto says, and a solitary flute pierces the gloom like sunlight through a crack in the prison walls. Florestan speaks of the “beautiful days” gone by; of his beating heart; of their tight embrace. His voice reaches for the heavens in a solitary burst of coloratura. We have only a melodic line to judge by, but it radiates a kind of ecstasy.

Filling In a Lost Beethoven Aria

Leonore (1805) with this new reconstructed aria will be performed in Washington on Feb. 26, 2020, and New York on March 2 and 4, conducted by Ryan Brown.

We look forward to hearing Mr. Crutchfield’s efforts!