An Irish soprano makes a big Vienna debut

An Irish soprano makes a big Vienna debut


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2020

The role of Leonore in the Vienna State Opera’s new Fidelio production on February 1 will be sung by the Irish soprano Jennifer Davis, a former member of the Covent Garden training scheme.

This will be her Vienna debut, and her first time singing the role.



  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Lets hope that the new production is not too weird, as most new productions of opera are in the last 20 years. The old production was quite good. It would have been better if they changed their production of Lohengrin instead.

    • Nik says:

      The old Otto Schenk production of Fidelio will be kept. In fact it is scheduled to be performed again in April.
      The new production that is opening next week is of the first (1805) version of the opera, Leonore.

  • chris says:

    It is a new production, but ofBeethoven’s earlier version, Leonore.

  • Nijinsky says:

    It would be nice to hear more in opera of what it is to be a soprano than Gheorghiu shrieking!

  • MDR says:

    She deserves every success she can get. Wonderful lady.

  • Larry L. Lash / Vienna, Austria says:

    It is indeed the Urfassung which premiered in Theater an der Wien in 1805. It was actually called “Fidelio oder Die eheliche Liebe,” but LvB quickly switched it to “Leonore oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe” for the second version, which received a grand total of two performances in March and April 1806. “Fidelio” premiered in 1814 at the Hofoper im Kärntnertortheater.

    The director for “Leonore” is Amélie Niermeyer, and judging from the set model shown on Staatsoper’s website (it looks like a 1950s department store) along with the fact that there will be TWO Leonores – one an actress – I can hear the Buhfest now.

    Here are a few words on Leonore II (the character not the overture):

    “In Amélie Niermeyers Produktion steht neben der Leonore auch die Figur „Leonore – die Schauspielerin“ auf der Bühne. In dieser Rolle gibt die deutsche Film- und Theaterschauspielerin Katrin Röver ihr Debüt an der Wiener Staatsoper.”


    • Larry L. Lash / Vienna, Austria says:

      As photos and information leak daily from Staatsoper, it gets worse every day: the photos look like the opera is set in the 1950s in Westbahnhof (before the renovations). Niermeyer’s Handlung (synopsis) details that Leonore has a split personality and has conversations with herself, and at the end (SPOILER WARNING) she gets stabbed to death by Pizarro while defending Florestan, and dies having a vision of freedom.

      With each new disaster I wonder if it is Dominique Meyer’s goal to chalk up the greatest number of hideous productions in Staatsoper history. His choice of Regisseurs is (almost) enough to make me long for the days of Ioan Holender!

  • Nijinsky says:

    I never said I didn’t love Gheorghiu’s shrieking, Renee Fleming sounding like she’s in the bathroom squeakind and wining trying to get it out underwater, Joyce D. in the heights like a cheap bargain basement kazoo plus Barb Streisand like an organ grinder stuck on the same note!

    at least they’re not sounding like they need to be introduced to some serious missionary intervention

  • Bruce says:

    In bocca al lupo! Break a leg!*

    *(someone else’s leg 😉 )

  • Andre Paradis says:

    Jennifer Davis was a wonderful Elsa a couple of years ago in Covent Garden’s Lohengrin. She should prove a fantastic Leonore no matter what the production tries to do.