Philly Fringe Stages Fidelio in Abandoned Prison

Classic Arts News   Philly Fringe Stages Fidelio in Abandoned Prison
A production of Beethoven's Fidelio took was staged in a prison as part of the recent Philly Fringe festival, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The opera took place in the abandoned 176-year-old Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, which has not been used, except as a tourist curiosity, since 1971.

Obed Floan starred as Florestan, with Robert Lucien Demers as Rocco and Elizabeth Kopczynski-Moore as Leonora.

Those who attended the performance were given a flashlight at the entrance, and proceeded down a corridor in which they could look into cells where photographs and text described what life there was like.

Inquirer critic David Patrick Stearns did not give a favorable review of the production. Although he found the opera's central paradox—the inhumanity of the prison and the humanity of the characters—to be heightened by the site-specific staging, in the end, he said, it "left little room for imagination."

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