Opera

Ariadne auf Naxos

Richard Strauss

Opera in one act and a prologue Text by Hugo von Hofmannsthal Performed in German with German and English supertitles

»Ariadne auf Naxos« is an opera about opera, about fidelity and change as well as the transforming power of love: When a rich man books a private performance of an opera in his house, he is only able to bear the earnestness of the piece when interspersed with a comedy. And so the grief of the abandoned Ariadne clashes with the comedienne Zerbinetta. Together with principal conductor Christian Thielemann, the Staatskapelle Dresden previously performed »Ariadne auf Naxos« to great acclaim at the Baden- Baden Festival of 2012. Christian Thielemann will also be on the podium for this new production at the Semperoper.

Summary

»Ariadne auf Naxos« is an opera about opera, about fidelity and change as well as the transforming power of love: When a rich man books a private performance of an opera in his house, he is only able to bear the earnestness of the piece when interspersed with a comedy. And so the grief of the abandoned Ariadne clashes with the comedienne Zerbinetta. Together with principal conductor Christian Thielemann, the Staatskapelle Dresden previously performed »Ariadne auf Naxos« to great acclaim at the Baden- Baden Festival of 2012. Christian Thielemann will also be on the podium for this new production at the Semperoper.

Synopsis

Prologue
An opera, »Ariadne on Naxos«, by a young composer, is to be performed at the home of a rich man. The patron announces, through his majordomo, that a further comedy group will provide entertainment after the serious opera. The majordomo responds to the protest of the music master, the composer’s mentor, by referring to the right of the paying principle. The composer thinks that performing a comedy alongside his work is a betrayal of art and the opera singers turn their noses up at the performing artists. Their leader Zerbinetta is, meanwhile, worried about how she will get the audience to laugh again after the serious opera. The majordomo arrives with further instructions: the opera and the comedy should not be performed after one another but, instead, at the same time. The composer no longer wants to perform his work yet his music master reminds him about his much-needed pay. A dance master advises that if Zerbinetta’s improvisation art is used and the score is shortened, nothing need stand in the way of a successful performance. The composer once again vehemently contradicts Zerbinetta’s perspective of the myth of Ariadne – yet both became closer in their thoughts on love, loyalty and one’s own self. When the spectacle begins, the composer wishes he could turn to stone.

Opera
The Cretan king’s daughter Ariadne has saved the life of Athenian Theseus by helping him kill the Minotour and escape the labyrinth of her father Minos. Instead of taking her with him to Athens and marrying her, Theseus leaves her on the island of Naxos. Frozen in grief and accompanied by three nymphs, Ariadne waits for death as a life without her beloved Theseus doesn’t seem worth living. Zerbinetta and her companions Harlekin, Brighella, Scaramuccio and Truffaldin try to cheer Ariadne up with singing and dancing yet she ignores the lively troupe. Zerbinetta subsequently explains her conviction to Ariadne that continuous change and transformation determine the nature of love. Ariadne does not want to hear this and Zerbinetta then chooses, from the four suitors pursuing her, Harlekin. The three nymphs announce the arrival of Bacchus on the island. Young Bacchus, the son of Zeus and Semele, is still under the impression of his first experience with a woman, the sorceress Circe whose transformative power has rebounded off him. He also thinks Ariadne is a dangerous sorceress at first who conjures men into animals. Ariadne, meanwhile, thinks Bacchus is Hermes, the messenger of death, for whom she has waited for, for so long. Whilst both recognise each other, they transform: Bacchus finally becomes a god and Ariadne is able to free herself from the love for Theseus.

Complete Cast

Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

A co-production with the
Opéra national de Lorraine (Nancy)
and the Opéra de Lausanne

Project Partner:
Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe Sachsen
Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden
Sparkassen-Versicherung Sachsen
LBBW

Making-of trailer »Ariadne auf Naxos«

Part 1 – with soprano Daniela Fally (Zerbinetta) and director David Hermann
Part 2 – with the soloist Krassimira Stoyanova (Ariadne)
Part 3 – with the tenor Stephen Gould (Bacchus)
Part 4 – with the Principal Conductor Christian Thielemann

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No coming shows this season.