Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Original Ariadne

Daniel Harding music director
Sven-Eric Bechtolf stage director
Rolf Glittenberg set designer
Marianne Glittenberg costume designer
Heinz Spoerli choreographer
Ronny Dietrich dramaturgy
Jürgen Hoffmann lighting designer

Wiener Philharmoniker

Emily Magee (The Prima Donna/Ariadne)
Elena Moșuc (Zerbinetta)
Jonas Kaufmann (The Tenor/Bacchus )
Eva Liebau (Naiad/A Shepherdess)
Marie-Claude Chappuis (Dryad/A Shepherd)
Eleonora Buratto (Echo/A Singer)
Gabriel Bermúdez (Harlequin)
Michael Laurenz (Scaramuccio)
Tobias Kehrer (Truffaldino)
Martin Mitterrutzner (Brighella)
Peter Matić (The Major-Domo)
Cornelius Obonya (M. Jourdain)
Thomas Frank (The Composer)
Michael Rotschopf (Hofmannsthal)
Regina Fritsch (Ottonie/Dorine)
Stefanie Dvorak (Nicolina)
Johannes Lange (Flunky)

These credits appear to be only for the opera.  The actors are not listed.  In the picture above are Ariadne and the countess.

I don't know if I can recommend this for you.  In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, the Salzburger Festspiele has presented the original version of the opera.  Or is it an opera?   According to Wikipedia, "In the end, the opera occupied ninety minutes, and the performance of play plus opera occupied over six hours."  It was a failure.  Our play is not so long and the whole thing takes 3 hours and 23 minutes plus the omitted intermission.

In Ulm we were an opera company, a ballet company and a theater company, so I was exposed to rather more Bühnedeutsch than the average opera singer.  They are doing something vaguely approximating the play by Molière, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, spoken in German without subtitles.  Maybe if I pushed buttons, a translation would appear, but for me it is perfect.  I can even tell when the newly made countess slips out of her upper class dialect.  Her voice sounds a bit like Olive Oyl.  [Like if you recognize that name.]  Wie vermisse ich die deutsche Sprache.

In the stream from medici.tv we see the first act from the other side.  The play is about the richest man in ?? who with his wife has been raised to nobility.  We see the countess request fireworks, and the ensuing chaos.  Hugo von Hofmannsthal is a character.  Jonas Kaufmann as the tenor has a brief outburst when he hears of the changes, "Im letzten Moment!  I go airport."  He goes off muttering in Italian.  Very funny.  We almost buy him as an Italian opera singer.  At the end of the first scene Hofmannsthal tells the countess that normally the intermission would come here.

The count in the second act--the opera--is a perfect asshole, constantly shouting and interrupting the singers. I can see how this wouldn't be popular.  The countess wanders out on to the stage and follows the singers around.  The great arias are here:  "Es gibt ein Reich," and "Großmächtige Prinzessin," but the singers are less than fabulous.

Just to be annoying, I have inserted Kathleen Battle doing "Großmächtige Prinzessin."

The three ladies sing their soothing music that sounds only mostly like "Schlafe, schlafe" and are interrupted by Jonas shouting.  The count jumps out of his chair each time.  Will I be able to see this opera without imagining the inquisitive countess?  Everyone gets excited.  Ariadne is rescued, not by a mere man but by a god.

Are you the goddess of this island?  A god has come for her and she appears to be bitching.  See review of Tosca for the Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne.  All those candles would make my throat close up.  Bacchus and Ariadne kiss, but the countess and Hofmannsthal also kiss.  I cried.  Have I ever cried for Ariadne before?  It is very pleasing to see this.

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