BEETHOVEN, ‘THE EMPEROR OF CLASSICAL MUSIC’, AND THE FALL OF EMPEROR NAPOLEON. HUMAN RIGHTS IN FIDELIO
In this contribution, law will be linked to opera, because many legal topics are discussed in operas. The opera Fidelio of Ludwig van Beethoven is a story of a woman who, in disguise, frees her husband from the prison of a corrupt despot. This opera can be seen as a representation of one of the ideals of the Enlightenment. Beethoven was (probably) born in Bonn in 1770 although it is also claimed that he was born in 1772 in Zutphen (The Netherlands). He alluded in Fidelio on human rights and criticized the law of his time. Fidelio is based on the themes of the French revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity. Beethoven adapted the opera twice and wrote four overtures, before deciding on May 23th, 1814, to have the work performed. The last version became known as Fidelio and was a success, quite possibly partly because of the fall of Emperor Napoleon. Many performances took place in Vienna, including one at the prestigious opening of the Congress of Vienna on September 26th, 1815.
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