To date, the opera entitled Ariadne auf Naxos has been performed twice during a Japanese tour of Wiener Staatsoper. The performance brings mid-18th century Vienna to the stage and gives theatergoers a sense of the city at the time.
Ariadne auf Naxos was created as an opera within an opera, reminiscent of Molière's comedy Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. In the prologue in the first half of the opera, a millionaire living in Vienna is preparing to entertain guests. The prologue depicts the turmoil that takes place before the curtain is raised for an opera the millionaire is producing. The latter half of the production is when the millionaire's opera is staged. Following its premiere in Stuttgart, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised into an independent production in its current form. After the revision, the opera premiered in 1916 at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, and 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of this performance.
This production by Sven-Eric Bechtolf is staged in the style of a "Drama and Opera," which then flows into the "Revised Opera." In the summer of 2012, it was produced and staged in the style of a drama + opera as a memorial project at the Salzburg Music Festival for the 100th anniversary of its Stuttgart premiere. In December 2012, a premiere of the revised opera was performed at Wiener Staatsoper.
Director Sven-Eric Bechtolf is also an actor in this production. He says, "There are many similarities between the revised opera version and the drama + opera version, where the script and drama hold deep meaning, but each version also has significant differences. Each version has its own beauty, like two different but very charming sisters." The music is the main character in the revised opera version
In Ariadne auf Naxos, the character of Zerbinetta, which requires a coloratura virtuoso, makes the strongest impression. Daniela Fally, currently the leading expert in the role of Zerbinetta, appears in this performance. The costume of this extravagant character also creates a striking effect. The role of a composer who is to discover true love under the influence of Zerbinetta will be played by Stephanie Houtzeel. She has won great acclaim in the same production in Wienna. Gun-Brit Barkmin plays Zerbinetta's contrasting character role of Ariadne, who only wishes to die, but with the appearance of the character Bacchus, she chooses to live a new life of love. The role of Ariadne requires great depth in both singing ability and expression to represent this transformation. Barkmin's previous performance in Japan in Salome demonstrated her special talent for works by Richard Strauss. Stephen Gould who played the role of the tenor/ Bacchus in the premiere of the Production by Sven-Eric Bechtolf will also appear in Japan tour, in the same role.
One reason this performance of Ariadne auf Naxos is so special is the appearance of conductor Marek Janowski. Janowski has not appeared as a conductor of an operatic performance since 1990. All in all, this performance by a master of Richard Strauss's works on the famous stage of Wiener Staatsoper is a must see!
◉Premiere : December 19, 2012
Conductor : Franz Welser-Möst