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Fidelio, 21st Century

The Stage for Music Visualisation was inaugurated with the performance of "Fidelio, 21st Century" (production: Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication; director Johanna Dombois; realisation: Vertigo Systems GmbH and rmh new media gmbh). Behind this performance stands the most modern interpretation of the historic material which Ludwig van Beethoven used for the third and last version of his only opera "Fidelio", performed for the first time in 1814.

With regard to the fact that stage productions convey their message mainly by their performance and that their survival depends on questioning the message over and over again, an opera like "Fidelio" particularly demands a modern interpretation. Beethoven himself edited his "Fidelio" numerous times. The subject matter had to be adapted to changing historic and organisational conditions. So, the discrepancy between old and new is a vital characteristic of this work.

From this standpoint, it seems to be a naturally grown desire to perform Beethoven's "Fidelio" in a way also applicable to the new 21st century. "Fidelio, 21st Century" is the attempt to confront a classical piece with new media. And this attempt alone triggers a lot of tension and thrills at the Beethoven-House: As is generally known, Beethoven's "Fidelio" takes place in a vault. And so, "Fidelio, 21st Century" is performed in the historic vault of the Beethoven-House which accommodates the Stage for Music Visualisation.

Old and new at one place, that means in particular: Through "3D virtual reality technology", the opera is performed as a vivid interactive theatre play. Standard singers are replaced by a cooperative group interaction. "3D-Virtual Reality Technology" and 3D image sources offer new scenic possibilities. Using a tape and a cut version, the first "3D sound projection" for a standard opera piece was created. In brief, the opera (once again) becomes an area of sound. Still, the technology for virtuality does not question the authenticity of the music but sharpens the audience's awareness and consciousness for the music.

Altogether, the genre of music visualisation can be regarded as a form of vivid theatre. In a virtual environment, programme code controls the flow of images whereas the flow of notes, essential for music, can be presented with more than just images. Thus, by means of virtual environment, the opera can realise its traditional demand, namely the equitable unity of sound and image.

Direction concept
Music and sound
Scene and setting
The figures