Beethoven, Fidelio

The Portrait of Beethoven’s aria ABSCHEULICHER … KOMM HOFFNUNG

Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “ABSCHEULICHER … KOMM HOFFNUNG”.


If you want to hear more about the opera FIDELIO, click on the link to the opera portrait


The Aria – Synopsis & Background


Synopsis: Florestan is a political prisoner in the hands of Governor Don Pizarro. Leonore, Florestan’s wife, wants to free her husband on her own. She dresses up as a man and gets hired under the name Fidelio by the prison ward Rocco. The minister (and rival of Don Pizarro) Don Fernando announces a visit to the prison. Don Pizarro panics and orders Rocco to kill Florestan before the minister’s inspection. Rocco refuses and Pizarro decides to commit the crime himself. Rocco and Leonore have to dig the grave.


This aria is a great soul painting of Beethoven and one of the most emotionally gripping arias in opera literature.

The orchestra introduces the aria with a motif that describes the inner turmoil of the Leoneore.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


After  grim first bars Leonore’s voice changes into a merciful mood:

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


A beautiful flute motif accompanies her into the Adagio part of the introduction:

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


The following Adagio is one of the most beautiful parts of this opera. Leonore’s music and words are full of moving hope and confidence. The vowels of the text glow and shine in the music.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


The following sing passage is beautifully decorated by Beethoven over 12 bars to increase the intensity of this passage.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


The second part begins in Allegro con brio. The restlessly moving accompaniment describes the impatience that Leonore strives to reunite with her husband.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


Once again the tempo changes. In piu lento we hear the warmth of the voice.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore


A horn passage means the recapitulation of the Allegro con brios with emotional leaps in tone and leads into a stretta that leads into the high d-sharp.

Abscheulicher, komm hoffnung, aria, Fidelio, Leonore



Vocal Fach «Dramatic soprano»

The role of Leonore is written for a dramatic soprano. The dramatic soprano must have a strong, voluminous voice. The demand for vocal creativity is high, which is why these roles are usually entrusted to vocally mature and experienced singers. The role requires a high resilience and endurance of the singer.





Abscheulicher! wo eilst du hin?
Was hast du vor in wildem Grimme?
Des Mitleids Ruf—
Der Menschen Stimme—
rührt nichts mehr deinen Tigersinn?
Doch toben auch wie Meereswogen
dir in der Seele Zorn und Wut,
so leuchtet mir ein Farbenbogen,
der hell auf dunkeln Wolken ruht,
der blickt so still, so friedlich nieder,
der spiegelt alte Zeiten wieder,
und neu besänftigt wallt mein Blut.

Komm, Hoffnung, lass den letzten Stern,
der Müden nicht erbleichen.
O komm, erhell’ mein Ziel, sei’s noch so fern,
Die Liebe will’s erreichen.

Ich folg’ dem inner Triebe,
Ich wanke nicht,
mich stärkt die Pflicht
der treuen Gattenliebe.
O du, für den ich alles trug,
könnt’ ich zur Stelle dringen
wo Bosheit dich in Fesseln schlug,
und süssen Trost dir bringen!


Fiend! Where are you hurrying to?
What do you intend in your wild rage?
The cry of sympathy—
The voice of humanity—
moves nothing your tiger mind?
Yet, though anger and rage swirl
like ocean waves in your soul,
above me a rainbow shines,
resting brightly on the dark clouds;
it looks down so quietly, so peacefully,
bringing back the memory of old times,
and my blood flows in a new calmness.

Come, o Hope, do not let the last star
of the exhausted fade away.
Come, illuminate my goal. However far it is,
Love will reach it.

I follow an internal urge,
I’ll not falter,
I am made strong by the duty
of faithful conjugal love.
O you, for whom I have borne everything,
if only I could press through to that place
where Evil has cast you into fetters,
and bring you sweet consolation.



Famous interpretations of ABSCHEULICHER … KOMM HOFFNUNG


You can hear the two perhaps best Leonore recorded Christa Ludwig and Lotte Lehmann.


It is the opportunity to hear Lotte Lehmann, one of the immortals of recording history, in a supernatural interpretation. Walter Legge, the producer of the century, describes her performance of Leonore as the greatest achievement not only of her career; no other singer has reached Lehmann in the role again.

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (1)  –  Lehmann


Christa Ludwig said about her interpretation: «I could not sing the Fidelio in a highly dramatic way, but I played the weak woman trying to save her husband». For Christa Ludwig this role was a great challenge. She was not a highly dramatic soprano. She confessed in an interview about the Leonoren aria: “At the end of the aria I was always delighted when I had reached the tone, this high B. After every “Fidelio” performance I was hoarse. It always took me three days to use the voice again.”

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (2)  –  Ludwig


Cheryl Studer was an incredibly versatile singer with a beautiful voice. Her Leonore is expressive and beautiful in the ornamented passages.

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (3)  –  Studer



The voice of Leonie Rysanek was powerful and dramatic, which is especially noticeable in the second part.

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (4)  –  Rysanek



A great character actress was Martha Mödl. She was a famous Wagner interpreter with a rather dark voice which could transport drama and pathos. Her Leonore is pervaded by deep feelings and allows a enormous pleasure to listen.

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (5)  –  Mödl


Jessye Norman had studied singing in Germany, among other places, and has a perfect diction of this language. Her interpretation is very differentiated. Especially the lyrical passages are of beguiling warmth. Also the dramatic passages are of rich colour.

Abscheulicher !… Komm, Hoffnung (6)  –  Norman







Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the aria “ABSCHEULICHER…KOMM HOFFNUNG ” from the opera Fidelio from Ludwig van Beethoven







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