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About this Piece

Fidelio represents a fight for freedom that is also a fight for inclusion and awareness. Fidelio is connected in a unique way with Deaf audiences, since the premiere in November 1805, when the opera composer himself was already losing his hearing. Our Fidelio has been conceived so that Deaf audiences can fully enjoy it, for the first time in two centuries.

Each of the characters in Fidelio is played by a singer and a Deaf actor. The actors bring a gestural and emotional poetry that, fused with the singing, elevates the viewer’s experience to an unexpected place. Actors and singers come together to create a character with two souls that can express, on a deeper level, the complexity of human nature.

With the intention of bringing the same emotional discourse of music to Deaf audiences, we have conceived with Deaf West Theatre a system to re-create the inflections of music through the expressiveness of sign language and through visual expressions, to capture even moments of pure instrumental music without lyrics.

In some of the preliminary project meetings, Gustavo proposed that we perform some of the recitatives in sign language, without voices, leaving the stage entirely silent. The sacred effect that this silence produced made us understand that all the recitatives should be done in the same way. Thus, we arrived at a Fidelio in which silence is one of the main characters of the opera.

Every participant in this project has been enriched by the profound impact of transcending linguistic barriers. This experience has also granted us a new perspective, allowing us to feel and understand Beethoven in a different light. ―Alberto Arvelo