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Ludwig van Beethoven, Fidelio op. 72, 2. Fassung 1806, Arie des Florestan "In des Lebens Frühlingstagen", Partitur, Autograph, Fragment

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, BH 66

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More than 18 times "my joy has vanished"

"In the springtime of my life / All my joy has vanished" ("In des Lebens Frühlingstagen / Ist das Glück von mir geflohen") - Florestan is sitting in the dungeon, lamenting his fate. This scene from the opera Fidelio was not only the climax of the opera for Beethoven but also at the centre of its dramatic message. The composer had already worked on this aria many times in the sketches, more than on any other part. We know of eighteen different attempts but there were probably many more. Beethoven not only wrestled with this aria in the sketches. Even in the "finished" autograph score three different stages can be ascertained. The manuscript shown here is the revised version for the performance in 1806. (J.R.)

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