- July 18, 2017
I wrote about the diverse forms of opera a few weeks ago, and Ariadne auf Naxos (running until 27 July) is a perfect example, in fact it utilises wildly different styles within the same opera. The opera starts with a prologue, where a composer is distraught that his serious drama must be performed simultaneously with a vaudevillian sexual farce, at the request of the landed gentleman who is funding the whole shebang.
Angela Brower’s performance as the conductor was the highlight of the whole work, with fantastic charisma and fine acting creating a real empathy with the audience, as well as some fine melodies and arias to boot.
The second part, known as ‘The Opera’, is the serious opera, interspersed with the farce, which is a jarring experience in some ways, but refreshing too. The music was overwhelmingly beautiful throughout, with fluid, blossoming woodwind from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and some of the most stunning harmonies I’ve ever heard in opera. You should check out the “Schläft sie” trio online for a sample of Strauss’ mellifluous intertwining melodic lines, which was particularly well sung by soprano Hyesang Park in this production.
Although Brower was the star for me, Lise Davidsen’s Glyndebourne debut has proved the most popular, she had a fine, full, expressive voice that filled the auditorium, although I felt that her acting needed a little polish to really grip the viewer’s attention and tug at the heartstrings.
Ariadne auf Naxos delves into the nature of art and the kinks of combining humour and tragedy. It’s also simply a joyous and fun opera, if a little muddled at times. If you want a thought-provoking work of art filled with stunning music, then I urge you to give this one a go.