Théâtre des Champs Élysées

Ariadne auf Naxos

Richard Strauss

Amber Wagner and Jonas Kaufmann reunite onstage for a concert revival of the superb Munich Opera performance

Opera in a prologue and one act (1916 version)
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Kirill Petrenko  direction 

Amber Wagner  Ariane / Prima Donna
Jonas Kaufmann  Bacchus / The Tenor
Brenda Rae  Zerbinetta
Alice Coote  The composer
Markus Eiche  The music master
Christian Rieger  A lackey
Matthew Grills  Brighella
Kevin Conners  The dancing master
Elliot Madore  Harlequin
Johannes Klama The major-domo
Dean Power  Scaramuccio
Tareq Nazmi  Truffaldino
Petr Nekoranec  An officer
John Carpenter  A wigmaker
Eri Nakamura  A naïade
Okka von der Damerau A dryade
Anna Virovlansky  Echo

Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Anja Harteros unfortunately resigned from all performances of this production in Munich as well as from the concert version in Paris, and will be replaced by Amber Wagner who recently sang this part in Chicago to major acclaim.

From the very opening bars of the work, the breath-taking powers of invention of the composer are strikingly apparent, and this is sustained to the very end. The origins of this success can undoubtedly be found in Hoffmansthal’s libretto, which makes deft use of the artifice of a performance within a performance. Strauss and his librettist pit the spoken and sung word against each other on the pretext of organising a performance of a short opera (also called Ariadne auf Naxos) and a divertimento in the Commedia dell’arte tradition. The two companies involved vie with each other in aesthetic debates and amorous quips, which continuously spice up the preparations for the performance. However, this also provides an opportunity to take vocal virtuosity to its peak (as for example in the famous aria by Zerbinetta – eleven minutes of sheer operatic inventiveness) and the whole work is enhanced by the sumptuous orchestration of Strauss, who was at the peak of his powers of composition. A guaranteed treat for the senses.


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