[Met Performance] CID:244600

Ariadne auf Naxos
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, March 20, 1976 Matinee Broadcast
Broadcast Matinee Broadcast

Debut : Alberto Remedios, Ruth Welting, Alan Titus, James Patrick

Ariadne auf Naxos (22)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Montserrat Caballé

Alberto Remedios [Debut]

Ruth Welting [Debut]

The Composer
Tatiana Troyanos

Music Master
William Dooley

Alan Titus [Debut]

Charles Anthony

Richard T. Gill

Douglas Ahlstedt

Christine Weidinger

Cynthia Munzer

Betsy Norden

Nico Castel

Paul Franke

Dancing Master
Andrea Velis

Russell Christopher

Andrij Dobriansky

Owner of Mansion
James Patrick [Debut]

James Levine

Bodo Igesz

Set Designer
Oliver Messel

Costume Designer
Jane Greenwood

Ariadne auf Naxos received five performances this season.
Rebroadcast on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio

Review 1:

Review of Bill Zakariasen in the Daily News

'Ariadne' cast equal to test

Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" is one of the most difficult operas to cast, in or out of repertory. The Metropolitan Opera Saturday afternoon was able to present it with a cast, however new to its roles, mainly up to the score's demands. The only familiar names from the last time around at the Met were tenors Paul Franke and Charles Anthony, yet both singers on this occasion essayed new roles - Anthony was Scaramuccio instead of Brighella, and Franke was the lecherous officer instead of the androgynous Dancing Master.

Chief attention went naturally to Montserrat Caballé, who not only sang her first Ariadne anywhere in something like 18 years, and her first German role at the Met. She had a resounding success in it, even though she reportedly was unsure of the text after such a long time. The kiss blown to the prompter at her curtain-call was a tribute to her good manners and musical accuracy. There were a few ragged edges in her phrasing, but never has her voice rung out with more power, pride and passion. Moreover, in the Prologue which shows her as Prima Donna rather than Heroine, Cabellé proved herself an expert comedienne as well. This Spanish soprano's second language is German, and she spins its words and style in the manner born.

There were three Met debuts Saturday as well, two of which were successful. Alan Titus' bright baritone, good looks and engaging stage manner were perfect fits for Harlequin, and Ruth Welting, barring a bit of stridency when she unnecessarily pushed her well-focused voice beyond its threshold of beauty, was an outstanding Zerbinetta. Cute as a button, Welting continued the charm noted in her previous work at City Opera, and her technical mastery of the role (including a trill on high D) gave the listener as much admiration for her accomplishment as enjoyment of it.

Alberto Remedios (Bacchus) is from Liverpool, but his singing gave hardly as much pleasure as that of the Liverpudlian quartet headed by John Lennon. At least the Beatles knew their vocal limitations - Remedios, a pleasant lyric tenor of limited range who these days unaccountably sings Siegfried at Sadlers Wells, still doesn't. He is an attractive young man with an attractive voice badly used and inflicted on the ears of an audience which rightfully should expect a B flat to ring on pitch. Tatiana Troyanos was as fine a composer as she was a Rosenkavalier, which means she was as good as one is likely to hear in the role. William Dooley - a look-alike to Ben Franklin - was an ideal Music-Master, Nice Castel, sporting a nasal Viennese accent, likewise as the Major-Domo, and the rest of the cast, including Andrea Velis, (Dancing Master), Douglas Ahlstedt (Brighella), Anthony and Richard Gill (Truffaldin), was virtually unexceptionable.

The new staging by Bodo Igesz has sparkle and good timing, if not as much invention as the near-legendary production by Sarah Caldwell seen across the Plaza at the State Theater, and the new costumes by Jane Greenwood are a decided improvement on the old. James Levine's conducting, however, was too much like his "Rosenkavalier" - often powerful, but more often ponderous. Passages like the end of Ariadne's aria and the final duet threatened to stop altogether. I confess I really missed the master hand of this production's original maestro Karl Boehm; he may have looked like he was bored stiff by the music, but from the sounds, he obviously wasn't - nor was the audience.

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