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When Ludwig van Beethoven dipped his toe into the world of opera in the early 19th century, the composer may have had the concept of freedom on his mind.

There’s a fantastic moment in “Fidelio” when prisoners emerge from a dungeon and begin to sing. Their voices — which on May 20 were provided by the New National Theater Chorus at a Tokyo performance — reverberate through the air as they proclaim: “Oh, what joy, in the open air freely to breathe again! Up here alone is life! The dungeon is a grave.”

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