Fidelio is Beethoven’s only complete opera and one of the most admired, and problematic, in the repertoire. This Opera Handbook explores the fascinating musical and dramatic elements within the work as well as the debt to the traditions of French opera in the late eighteenth century and the French Revolution. Winton Dean offers a comparison of the opera’s first (1805) and final (1814) versions. Essays by Michael Tusa and Joseph Kerman consider its musical idiom and the challenges Beethoven faced as an instrumental composer trying his hand at opera. A final chapter examines the opera’s performance history, and the volume also includes a synopsis, bibliography, and informative illustrations.