Opera North - Ariadne auf Naxos
All sides of Strauss’s musical personality – comic, heroic and romantic – are on glorious display in this sumptuous confection, a co-production from Opera North with Gothenburg Opera. Director Rodula Gaitanou locates the action in a Fellini-esque Italian film studio in a production that won high praise when it was first seen in Gothenburg in 2018.
Comedy and tragedy collide when a wealthy patron commissions two entertainments for his guests – one a knockabout comedy, the other a high-flown mythological opera.
Chaos erupts when, at the last minute, both companies are instructed to perform their pieces simultaneously. The backstage shenanigans of the prologue give way to a meditation on differing attitudes to life and love in the opera proper, with Ariadne, who longs only for death after she is abandoned by the faithless Theseus, contrasted with Zerbinetta, for whom one lover can easily be replaced by another.