John Kohlmeier from the Lyric Opera of Chicago will be at the Palatine Library on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., to discuss the jilted lovers, ribald comedy, and pyrotechnics of the German opera “Ariadne auf Naxos.” This opera premiered in 1912 and is the third collaboration of Richard Strauss and his brilliant librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, but the pair revised their opera significantly for a second premiere in 1916.
The revision includes a glorious prologue that sets the stage for the opera to come. The opera, “Ariadne on Naxos,” to be presented in the home of the richest man in Vienna, is written by a passionately idealistic composer, whose efforts are encouraged by his music master. The composer is appalled to learn that it must be presented simultaneously with a performance by a commedia troupe led by Zerbinetta and Harlequin. The serious work and the commedia manage to integrate themselves into a smashing entertainment: the prima donna and the leading man, violently jealous of each other in the prologue, become noble Ariadne and ardent Bacchus.
The second version is the “standard” that will be performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago this November. “This production is one of the most enchanting, brilliantly realized things that I know in the whole operatic realm,” said Sir Andrew Davis. “The piece is challenging because of the preposterous idea of having two entertainments occur simultaneously. Strauss and Hofmannsthal did something brilliant with the tragédie and the commedia dell’arte, which interfere with each other but also illuminate each other. The wit of the thing is wonderful, starting below the stage, with the set based on an actual theater in Drottningholm, near Stockholm, with all this mechanical machinery done by ship builders in the 17th or 18th century.”
For more information about this discussion program and to sign up, please call 847-358-5881 or visit www.palatinelibrary.org for the online events calendar.
Want to learn more about this opera? Check out this link: