In 1991, Telarc recorded its first full-length opera, Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Edinburgh Festival with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Since that time, Telarc has recorded three other complete Mozart operas at the summer festival in Scotland: Cosi fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Don Giovanni--to universal acclaim.
For this recording of Beethoven's Fidelio, Sir Charles has employed his customary attention to period performance practices on contemporary instruments (with the exception of the horns, trumpets, trombones, and the addition of a fortepiano for the continuo). He uses a reduced string section to correspond to the size of those being used in Viennese theaters in the first two decades of the nineteenth century.
Sir Charles has included on this recording a recitative for Don Fernando, from the very end of the opera, that Beethoven had written in his 1805-6 version of the score but cut from his final version of 1814. According to Sir Charles, it is the first time this recitative has been heard since Beethoven's day. Listeners can also program the recording to skip the recitative and hear the Finale in its later and familiar version.
Sir Charles has also included, as an appendix to the recording, the Overture: Leonore No. 3, in the version based upon a score used by Carl Maria von Weber in his Prague performance of the opera in 1814.