'Beethoven the Emperor of classical music’ and the fall of Emperor Napoleon: Human Rights in Fidelio’

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Abstract

In this contribution, law will be linked to opera, because many legal topics are discussed in operas. The opera Fidelioof 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 beseen 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 Fidelioon human rights and criticized the law of his time. Fideliois 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 knownas Fidelioand 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalHumanities and Rights Global Network Journal
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2022

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