Music by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
February 13, 15, 21, 2014, at 8 pm
Matinée February 23 at 2:30 pm
In German with English Surtitles
The richest man in Vienna is having a party. His guests will be treated to a new opera – the tragedy of the jilted Ariadne – followed by a burlesque farce, The Fickle Zerbinetta and Her Four Lovers. When dinner runs late, the patron orders that both works be staged simultaneously.
What follows is a musical class war as the players perform a quirky mashup of high-minded opera and earthy comedy. Strauss has a field day with melody, tossing off playful roulades and sizzling coloratura, unveiling a kaleidoscope of lush orchestral textures and colours.
A cockeyed take on art, love, and fidelity, Ariadne auf Naxos is at once divinely comic and profoundly enchanting.
Ariadne auf Naxos is filled with sublime vocalism, enthralling melodies, and utterly beautiful orchestration, as shown in these selections from Youtube.
Ariadne: Ein Schönes war, hiess Theseus - Ariadne
The grieving princess Ariadne remembers her lover Theseus and longs for death as the members of the commedia dell'arte troupe look on in concern and bewilderment.
Ein Schöes war: hiess Theseus – Ariadne
Und ging inm Licht und freute sich des Lebens
There was a thing of beauty. It was called Theseus – Ariadne
and walked in the light and rejoiced in life ...
Jessye Norman is Ariadne in this 1988 production from the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.
With Kathleen Battle as Zerbinetta, Stephen Dickson as Harlekin, Anthony Laciura as Brighella, Allan Glassman as Scaramuccio, Artur Korn as Truffaldin, Barbara Bonney as Najade, Gweniet Bean as Dryade, Dawn Upshaw as Echo.
After the commedia dell'arte troupe try in vain to cheer up Ariadne, their leading lady Zerbinetta has a heart-to-heart chat with the despairing princess. Zerbinetta reminders her that all women suffer in love, but that the way to get through it is to move on: there's always another man in the wings. Zerbinetta lists some of her many lovers.
Each one came like a god
and his very step robbed me of speech ...
When he kissed my mouth and cheeks
I surrendered without a word.
Kathleen Battle is Zerbinetta in this 1988 production from the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.