‘this show works better than ever’

The Independent

'...meticulously realised to Glyndebourne’s highest standards’

The Daily Telegraph
  • Details

    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

    Insider talk
    Ariadne auf Naxos – casting and rehearsing an opera, Friday 14 July

    Pre-performance talk
    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

    Creative team

    Conductor Cornelius Meister
    Director Katharina Thoma
    Set designer Julia Müer
    Costume designer Irina Bartels
    Movement director Lucy Burge
    Lighting designer Olaf Winter

    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Leader Pieter Schoeman On-stage piano Bryan Wagorn



    Music Master Thomas Allen
    Major-Domo Nicholas Folwell
    Lackey Edmund Danon*
    Officer John Findon*+
    Composer Angela Brower / Hanna Hipp (19, 23, 27 July)
    Tenor AJ Glueckert
    Wigmaker Adam Marsden*
    Zerbinetta Erin Morley
    Prima Donna Lise Davidsen
    Dancing Master Michael Laurenz
    Four comedians Björn Bürger, François Piolino, Daniel Mirosław, Manuel Günther

    The Opera

    Naiad Hyesang Park
    Dryad Avery Amereau
    Echo Ruzan Mantashyan
    Ariadne Lise Davidsen
    Zerbinetta Erin Morley
    Harlequin Björn Bürger
    Scaramuccio François Piolino
    Truffaldino Daniel Mirosław
    Brighella Manuel Günther
    Bacchus AJ Glueckert

    *Soloist from The Glyndebourne Chorus
    + Jerwood Young Artist 2017

    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

  • Synopsis

    The Prologue

    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.

    The Opera

    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.