A funny, chaotic romp that pits high and low brow art against each other. Strauss’s lyrical music makes this a firm Festival favourite.
Best availability in July.
A story of chaos, hope and triumph
A troupe of tragic actors and a gaggle of comedians arrive at a country estate to provide entertainment. In the midst of classic backstage chaos, the two troupes get some odd news: everything’s behind schedule so, to save time, both shows must be performed simultaneously.
Though the idealistic young composer of the tragedy is devastated, the show(s) must go on. The lofty mythological tale of the lovelorn Ariadne is repeatedly disrupted by the music hall antics of the comedians and their flamboyant leader, Zerbinetta. Finally, a deus ex machina – quite literally – arrives to save the day.
The late-Romantic Strauss opera exploring high and low art
At the core of this energetic comedy is a thought-provoking dialogue about the eternal tensions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, and the very purpose of art and music.
Richard Strauss’s late-Romantic score blends rapturous lyricism, vocal virtuosity and catchy comic turns. Katharina Thoma’s imaginative production both raises the dramatic stakes and brings the drama close to home.
Sung in German with English supertitles.
Enhance your experience
Ariadne auf Naxos – casting and rehearsing an opera, Friday 14 July
Join us for a bite-sized overview of the opera on Saturday 1 July
Ariadne auf Naxos is generously supported by Hamish and Sophie Forsyth
Cast and creative team
Conductor Cornelius Meister
Director Katharina Thoma
Set Designer Julia Müer
Costume Designer Irina Bartels
Lighting Designer Olaf Winter
Ariadne Lise Davidsen
Composer Angela Brower / Hanna Hipp (19, 23, 27 July)
Zerbinetta Erin Morley
Bacchus AJ Glueckert
Music Master Thomas Allen
Dancing Master Michael Laurenz
Scaramuccio François Piolino
Harlequin Björn Bürger
Brighella Manuel Günther
Truffaldino Daniel Miroslaw
London Philharmonic Orchestra
By kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes Publishers Ltd.
Dates and times
Date Start Long interval Finish Price band Sun 25 June 4.45pm 5.35pm 8.25pm 3 Wed 28 June 5.50pm 6.50pm 9.30pm 4
Date Start Long interval Finish Price band Sat 1 July 5.50pm 6.50pm 9.30pm 3 Tue 4 July 5.00pm 5.50pm 8.40pm 4 Fri 7 July 5.50pm 6.50pm 9.30pm 3 Sun 9 July 4.45pm 5.35pm 8.25pm 3 Fri 14 July 5.50pm 6.40pm 9.30pm 3 Sun 16 July 4.45pm 5.35pm 8.25pm 3 Wed 19 July 5.50pm 6.40pm 9.30pm 4 Sun 23 July 4.45pm 5.35pm 8.25pm 3 Thu 27 July 5.50pm 6.40pm 9.30pm 4
At a sumptuous home, two theatre troupes are preparing for their performances: a commedia dell’arte group, led by the comedienne Zerbinetta, and an opera company presenting a serious opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. The Major-domo announces that, to save time, both entertainments must be performed simultaneously.
The idealistic young Composer is loath to permit any changes to his opera. But when his teacher, the Music Master, points out that his pay depends on accepting the situation, and when Zerbinetta turns her charms upon him, he complies. When he fully realises to what he has agreed, he storms out.
Ariadne, who has been abandoned by Theseus, laments her lost love and yearns for death. Zerbinetta and her four companions from the commedia dell’arte troupe attempt to cheer Ariadne by singing and dancing, but without success. Zerbinetta insists that the best way to cure a broken heart is to find another love. Each of the four commedia men pursues Zerbinetta.
Naiad, Dryad and Echo announce the arrival of a stranger. Ariadne assumes it is the messenger of death, but in fact it is Bacchus, who falls instantly in love with Ariadne. As Ariadne and Bacchus celebrate their love, Zerbinetta claims that she was right all along.
Photo: Alastair Muir