[Met Performance] CID:279130

Ariadne auf Naxos
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, January 5, 1985 Matinee Broadcast
Broadcast Matinee Broadcast

Ariadne auf Naxos (35)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Jessye Norman

William Cochran [Last performance]

Gianna Rolandi

The Composer
Maria Ewing

Music Master
Dieter Weller

Dale Duesing

James Atherton

Ara Berberian

Philip Creech

Myra Merritt

Isola Jones

Marvis Martin

Nico Castel

Paul Franke

Dancing Master
Joseph Frank

Russell Christopher

James Courtney

Owner of Mansion
Gary Drane

Andrew Davis

Rebroadcast on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio

Review 1:

Review of Patrick J. Smith in Opera

The main interest in the revival of Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos" at the Met (which I saw at the January 5 matinee) lay in the Ariadne of Jessye Norman. With her sovereign command of musical phrase and line, and her ability to float each word on the breath of the music, Norman's Ariadne was less the anguished and finally transfigured heroine than a Lieder singer unaccountably brought onto an opera stage. Her insistence on using the full dynamic range, with much pianissimo kept Andrew Davis alert in the pit, and held the listener's attention. There were times when she just strayed across the border of mannerism but, because of the tensile strength of the musical line, it was never etiolated or limp, and in the brazen final duet Norman easily overmatched William Cochran's worn but serviceable Bacchus.

The rest of the cast made for a strong, if secondary, ensemble, united by Davis's flexible and responsive conducting, the exemplary playing of the orchestra, and the restrained simplicity of Bodo lgesz's staging, which miscalculated only by introducing the 'bourgeois gentilhomme' for antics that were both gauche and irrelevant. Gianna Rolandi's Zerbinetta is less an over-active minxish soubrette than a reflective young lady, and it seems exactly right both for her temperament and voice, and in the specific context of Norman's Ariadne. Her treatment of her big scene gave it a measure of warmth and grace it seldom possesses. Maria Ewing, as the Composer, sounded less comfortable in her role for the voice was reedy, though she acted well enough. The masks, led by Dale Duesing as Harlekin, were fine, and the voice trio around Ariadne (Myra Merritt, Isola Jones and Marvis Martin) well matched. Dieter Weller made a sympathetic Music Master, and Nico Castel as the Major-Domo gave the specialists unalloyed joy with his gradations of hauteur and disdain encased within German diction of inexpressible nuance.

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