[Met Performance] CID:316030

Ariadne auf Naxos
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, April 16, 1994

Ariadne auf Naxos (60)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Deborah Voigt

Wolfgang Schmidt

Tracy Dahl

Music Master
Hermann Prey

Mark Oswald

Philip Creech

Ara Berberian

Paul Groves

Joyce Guyer

Jane Bunnell

Korliss Uecker

Nico Castel

Henry Grossman

Dancing Master
Tony Stevenson

John Fiorito

James Courtney

James Levine

Elijah Moshinsky

Michael Yeargan

Lighting Designer
Gil Wechsler

Stage Director
Lesley Koenig

Teresa Stratas

Ariadne auf Naxos received three performances this season.

Revival a gift of the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for Lincoln Center

Review 1:

Review of Tim Page in Newsday

An Electrifying Teresa Stratas In Strauss' Opera About Opera

Every now and then the Metropolitan Opera provides some staggeringly generous casting. I recall a performance of "Der Rosenkavalier" that featured none other than Luciano Pavarotti as the Italian Tenor - a role that takes about three minutes to sing. And, on Saturday night, Teresa Stratas, perhaps the world's most extraordinary singing actress, played the role of the Composer in yet another Strauss opera, "Ariadne auf Naxos."

This is a much larger part but it has never seemed to me a particularly gratifying one - at least, not until Saturday night. "Ariadne auf Naxos" is literally an opera about the production of an opera called "Ariadne auf Naxos," and the Prologue, which supposedly takes place before that opera begins, is mostly bustling recitative (much of it derived from Strauss' own incidental music for "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme"); the big numbers come later. Strauss' "Composer" sings not at all after the Prologue and yet Stratas was so vital and electrifying - she put the character across with such desperate, hummingbird- heart intensity - that she stole the evening

As Ariadne, Deborah Voigt produced an abundance of pure, magnificent soprano tone - she easily filled the house again and again and one suspected she could keep it up all night - but her interpretation does not yet strike me as especially penetrating. Tracy Dahl's pixie charm and agile, accurate command of coloratura were most welcome; a certain pinched sound was rather less appealing. Herrmann Prey brought his customary Old World dignity and superlative diction to the role of the Music Master. And the teaming of Joyce Guyer, Jane Bunnell and Korliss Uecker, as Najade, Dryade and Echo, was seamless; their melded timbres created an achingly beautiful unity. Wolfgang Schmitd, however grayed noisily as Bacchus.

The opera, of course, is "sui generis" long after Strauss had mostly abandoned the harmonic experimentation we find in his early work, he continued to think about music (and opera in particular) in a way that was abstract, self-conscious, ironic and original - four of the cardinal modernist virtues. (He would continue this train of thought in the wonderful "Capriccio," another opera about opera.)

Elijah Moshinsky's production, introduced last year, is most effective in the Prologue, which captures the fractious, frenetic backstage ambience of an opera house with rare acuity (one small portion of the image, to the viewer's upper left, is kept neatly ordered and pristine - representing the work of art that will be synthesized from the chaos). The second act, with its plethora of boxes within boxes, strikes me as overly tricky, although not necessarily out of character for this multileveled work.

James Levine conducted with his usual sympathy for his singers (who need it badly in this devilish work) and appreciative, knowing the affection for Strauss' great and curious score.

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