Richard Strauss’ tour de force, Ariadne auf Naxos, tells the story of a wealthy man who has assembled two groups of performers in his home – a group of opera singers preparing for a serious opera, and a troupe of comedians scheduled to perform an Italian comedy. As time grows short, the patron demands that the opera and the comedy be performed together, leading to an array of unexpected – and ultimately very satisfying – results.
Celebrated director Francesca Zambello’s production debuted at the Glimmerglass Festival, and re-imagines the playful and passionate tale in a rural barn setting. Glorious music and vocal fireworks from an ensemble cast led by soprano Alexandra LoBianco, tenor Jonathan Burton, soprano Jeni Houser, and mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano bring this romantic tale of backstage hijinks to life.
Master of the Estate
Sara Ann Mitchell
RICHARD STRAUSS Music
HUGO VON HOFMANNSTAHL Libretto
Richard Buckley Conductor
Jennifer Williams Stage Director
Adapted and Translated by Kelley Rourke
Sung in German and English dialogue, with English supertitles.
Ariadne auf Naxos
A lavish party is being planned at a historic homestead. Zerbinetta and her troupe of burlesque entertainers have been engaged to amuse the guests. In addition, a young composer has been commissioned to provide a new opera for the evening. The composer, appalled to learn that the opera’s premiere will share a bill with the burlesque routine, is momentarily distracted by a glimpse of the lovely Zerbinetta. Both groups of artists are shocked when the manager of the estate enters and demands that the two entertainments be combined.
The operatic artists take the stage first, presenting Ariadne and three nymphs on the isle of Naxos. There, the princess, who has been abandoned by Theseus, waits for Death. Zerbinetta and her troupe try to cheer Ariadne with song and dance, but she is not moved. When the two women are alone, Zerbinetta encourages Ariadne to find a new lover. The princess ignores Zerbinetta; the men of the burlesque troupe join the leader to play comic scene. Ariadne’s attendants announce a visitor to the island. Ariadne believes that Death has finally come for her, but it is Bacchus who appears. Mistaking the god for Theseus, she surrenders to him and is transfigured.