top of page
The awakening of the soul
VIENNA. Maria-Theresien-Platz. 1823
Finally, I completed my only opera: Fidelio, performed at
the Theater an der Wien, not far from what is called
Maria-Theresien-Platz in your time. It was about a political prisoner who is freed from a dark and sad prison by a beautiful woman. This work was one of the most moving acts of faith in humanity ever created by an artist... It was first performed in Vienna at the peace conference that year.
Napoleon's armies had been defeated and the victorious powers promoted Fidelio as a story of liberation with which the whole of Europe could identify. It was a huge success. At the age of 50, my deafness had cut me off from the world to such an extent that I was no longer interested in people's judgement.
I was going through a decisive moment from a personal and artistic point of view. I shut myself away in eccentric isolation; I wandered the streets of Vienna like a tramp, drunk and ragged, but then I came home and wrote some of the most lucid and beautiful music ever composed.
It was only in the early 1820s that I rose to my feet, turning to the institution I had ignored all my life: the Church. I wrote the Solemn Mass, born of a spiritual awakening that would convert my travails into triumphs. The following year, I completed my most famous symphony, the Ninth.
bottom of page