As we prepare to raise the curtain on our production of FIDELIO, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate one of the most touching love stories in our opera community, that of Mr. and Mrs. Luis E. Prada. Luis first encountered FIDELIO in the 1960s, when he heard a recording from The Met.
“I fell immediately in love with this opera. I’d always admired Beethoven and his ideas about freedom, abuse of power, and everything fell into place when I listened to that opera. Also, there’s something kind in the opera…very poignant and moving,” says Luis. “I can’t understand why this opera isn’t in constant production. It’s so beautiful. The ideals of freedom from oppression, and Beethoven’s ideas of love. The fidelity of Leonore… I think the name ‘Fidelio’ was selected to honor fidelity.”
Hearing Luis explain his passion for FIDELIO, his wife, Ruth, has to smile. “I just love Luis,” she says simply. And their love shines through everything they do. “We don’t typically give birthday presents to one another,” says Ruth, “but he’s got a big one coming up!” Luis interjects, “Yes, as they say in the Gettysburg Address, it is four score!”
To commemorate Luis’s birthday, as well as celebrate their shared love for FIDELIO and one another, Ruth worked with Kentucky Opera Director David Roth to create a birthday gift for Luis that he will ever forget. “We were at Carnevale last January, and as he always does, David announced the upcoming operas and their identified sponsors. That’s how Luis found out that Kentucky Opera was doing FIDELIO and that he was one of the sponsors, in front of all of his opera friends,” says Ruth. “We really hope other people will be inspired to work with Kentucky Opera and find a reason to sponsor a production as well. It doesn’t have to be just corporate sponsors! Individuals can do it, too.”
These opera buffs can’t wait for the premiere of FIDELIO on September 19! “After listening to Lunch and Listen on WFPL, I was so impressed with the quality of the singers who will be performing FIDELIO, especially the tenor, Jonathan Burton,” says Luis. “The character of Florestan doesn’t have that much singing compared to Leonore, so it has to be very powerful, very moving. I’m looking forward to how it will come off, and I expect it’s going to be a very good one after listening to some of the singers.” Ruth weighs in, saying, “Even for someone like me, who’s more of a novice to opera, the music is really moving and it really holds you. It’s just beautiful, I think people will really enjoy it.”
We had to ask Ruth and Luis how they felt FIDELIO stacked up against traditional, grand operas. “You know, in most grand operas the heroine dies of consumption or something, but this one is a triumph. A triumph of love over evil. Leonore not only discovers Florestan, but they’re reunited in victory over Don Pizarro, and over the abuse of power running rampant,” says Luis. “I think it belongs in the same category as a Verdi or a Puccini,” says Ruth. “It might be different from more modern operas, but it really aligns more with the others. Anyone who believes that Kentucky Opera should be doing grand operas should be attending FIDELIO. It’s a perfect opening opera.”
We hope that you will join us, as well as Ruth and Luis, for our Opening Night Gala on September 19. “Come see friends, get dressed up, and hear incredible music! People need to be there,” says Ruth. So get your tickets now and make plans to drink in the experience of Kentucky Opera!