Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos

Sven-Eric Bechtolf (stage director), Christian Thielemann (conductor) — With Johan Botha (Bacchus), Soile Isokoski (Ariadne), Daniela Fally (Zerbinetta) …

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Sven-Eric Bechtolf — Stage director

Rolf Glittenberg — Set designer

Marianne Glittenberg — Costumes

Jürgen Hoffmann — Lighting

Soile Isokoski — The Primadonna, Ariadne

Johan Botha — The Tenor, Bacchus

Sophie Koch — The Composer

Jochen Schmeckenbecher — A Music Teacher

Daniela Fally — Zerbinetta

Adam Plachetka — Harlequin

Carlos Osuna — Scaramuccio

Jongmin Park — Truffaldino

Benjamin Brun — Brighella

Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper

Christian Thielemann — Conductor

Program notes

Though it is now one of the best-loved operas in regular rotation around the world, the first version of Ariadne auf Naxos—conceived in 1912 as a light entertainment to follow the Molière play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme—was a failure, owing to the length of the performance (over six hours altogether!) and the disconnect between the French play and the German opera. For the revised version we know today, premiered in 1916 at the Vienna State Opera, Richard Strauss and his librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal decided to replace the play with a shorter comic prologue set in the home of a Viennese bourgeois, who has ordered two opera performances—the opera seria “Ariadne auf Naxos” and an opera buffa by an Italian troupe—which must be performed simultaneously! The result is a witty, irresistible mix of neo-Baroque and late Romanticism, a clever mise-en-abyme with philosophical undertones. 

In the same place where the opera was first performed, director Sven-Eric Bechtolf offers a sparkling production under the outstanding musical direction of Christian Thielemann, with a brilliant cast of soloists including Soile Isokoski in the dramatic role of Ariadne, Daniela Fally as the flamboyant Zerbinetta, and Sophie Koch in the touching role en travesti of the Composer.

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