Thursday, April 28, 2005


There is a kind of fearful anticipation. One wishes, after all, not to disturb the performance as it exists in memory, of something truly fabulous. So it is with something like stage fright that I have purchased Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos in the Salzburg performance of 1965 with Reri Grist as Zerbinetta, Karl Boehm conducting.

And it turns out we are also blessed with the composer of Sena Jurinac. She is marvelously passionate, a glorious performance.

And memory has not failed. Reri Grist is as beautiful and wonderfully charming as I remembered, her voice as fresh and steely. She is absolutely fabulous. She is Zerbinetta. They shout as we did.

Buy this, even though it's in black and white and the Ariadne, sung by Hildegard Hillebrecht, is less than thrilling. For the definitive "Es gibt ein Reich" you will need Jessye Norman. Buy it for Jess Thomas as Bacchus. If a god is to rescue us from our rock, we would wish him to look and sing like Jess Thomas, a man of reckless intensity who is at his best in this performance.

Karl Boehm is a great master in all German repertoire. Ariadne should be done like this.

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