Lyric Opera of Chicago: Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos

Jun 9, 2012

Airs Saturday, June 9 at 12:00 noon. Vienna’s richest man is planning an incredible party. First — guests will enjoy a serious opera (the Prima Donna plays Ariadne, who’s ready to die on the island of Naxos because her lover’s jilted her). Then comes a ribald comedy, starring saucy Zerbinetta (who’s got a Ph.D. in flirting). And finally, there’s to be a pyrotechnic display. But the host suddenly decides both productions must take place simultaneously so the fireworks can start promptly at nine! The Composer’s aghast and the Prima Donna’s horrified. But watch what happens when Zerbinetta gets into the act and determines that Ariadne’s “tragedy” shouldn’t end unhappily after all! This is Strauss à la Rosenkavalier, with sparkling, luscious music that wraps itself around a witty comedy.

As Ariadne, Amber Wagner is vocally thrilling. Her voice is truly dramatic, with both amplitude and nuance. Zerbinetta’s all about stratospheric vocal acrobatics — ideal for Anna Christy, who entrances listeners with her coloratura fireworks display. The Composer is a poster child for impetuosity, and Alice Coote’s portrayal oozes emotional energy — her singing is glorious. Bacchus must sweep Ariadne off her feet — and tenor sensation Brandon Jovanovich will do just that, vocally descending from the heavens with swashbuckling boldness!