Ariadne auf Naxos brings together the ‘high art’ of opera seria and the lighter, comic entertainment of the commedia dell’arte. Peggy Reynolds provides a historical and musical introduction to this ambitious, witty and intricately crafted collaboration between Richard Strauss and his librettist, the poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. With contributions from the writer and broadcaster David Nice, who provides expert insight into Strauss’s use of the orchestra to explore the theme of ‘high’ versus ‘low’ art. From theatre director Didi Hopkins of Commediaworks, who explains the history of the commedia dell’arte and introduces us to some of the art form’s stock characters. And from the writer Michael Kennedy who explores the – at times rather fraught – working relationship between Strauss and Hofmannsthal and discusses the genius of Strauss’s music.
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Producer: Mair Bosworth for Festival 2013
(Musical extracts used with kind permission of EMI Classics.)