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(Beethoven: Fidelio). Sop. Wife of Florestan. Disguised as a young man, Fidelio, she goes to work as assistant to the gaoler Rocco, determined to save her wrongly imprisoned husband. Rocco's daughter falls in love with Fidelio. In the dungeon, Leonore realizes it is Florestan who is soon to be killed and whose grave she is helping to dig. She gives the weak man bread and water, but he does not recognize her. She throws herself between him and Pizarro when the latter comes to kill Florestan. She is hailed by all as a heroine and is given the privilege of removing Florestan's chains and setting him free. Aria: Abscheulicher! (‘Abominable man!’); duet (with Florestan); O namenlose freude! (‘Oh nameless joy!’); ens. (with Florestan, etc.): O Gott, welch’ ein Augenblick (‘O God, what a moment’). Leonore is not an easy role to portray, being both vocally and dramatically demanding, but there has been no shortage of sopranos willing to perform the role, some, but not all, of whom fall into the Heldensopran class. These include Lotte Lehmann (the regular Salzburg Leonore between 1927 and 1937), Lucie Weidt, Hilde Konetzni, Rose Bampton, Kirsten Flagstad, Martha Mödl, Christel Goltz, Erna Schlüter, Leonie Rysanek, Galina Vishnevskaya, Sena Jurinac, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Gwyneth Jones, Elisabeth Söderström, Anne Evans, and Anje Kampe. Created (1805) by Anna Milder.

Subjects: Opera.

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