The Los Angeles Philharmonic has announced a semi staged production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, in conjunction with Deaf West Theatre. The production will play Walt Disney Concert Hall April 14-16.
Gustavo Dudamel will lead the Philharmonic in an innovative new semi-staged production of the opera, created for both Deaf and hearing audiences. Told through the composer’s music sung by hearing vocalists and expressive gestural sign language by Deaf actors, the performances explore the search for communication—both primal and sublime—that is at the heart of all artistic expression.
The collaboration is the California-based theatre's latest foray into adapting musical theatre pieces for Deaf and hearing performers and audiences. The company has produced similar takes on Big River and Spring Awakening that both transferred to Broadway, in 2003 and 2015, respectively.
Premiering in 1805 as Beethoven was reckoning with his own Deafness, Fidelio is a tale of triumph over oppression as the noblewoman Leonore goes undercover to daringly rescue her husband from political imprisonment. The production is directed by Alberto Arvelo, co-directed by Joaquín Solano and produced in collaboration with Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, David Kurs) and El Sistema’s Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir, Artistic Director, María Inmaculada Velásquez).
Fidelio will be a collaboration between hearing singers (Christiane Libor, Ian Koziara, Ryan Speedo Green, and Gabriella Reyes) and Deaf actors (Amelia Hensley, Josh Castille, Russell Harvard and Indi Robinson) through the expressive power of American Sign Language (ASL) and Beethoven’s music.
The collaboration between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Deaf West Theatre will extend beyond Fidelio, including new ongoing policies and procedures to make performances at the Philharmonic more accessible for Deaf audiences.