When the curtains open on the first act, we find ourselves in the grand residence of a Viennese aristocrat, who has hired both an opera seria group and a burlesque troupe to provide entertainment after dinner. Unfortunately for both, however, the dining overruns, leaving only one slot. For possibly the first time in dramatic history, we are plunged into the realm of backstage conflict as the companies desperately try and fuse their acts together. Come the second act, and we see the result of their unwilling collaboration – a Greek tragedy turned into a heartfelt celebration of love, its characters viewed through the lens of the fictional actors playing them.
Christof Loy’s (Tristan und Isolde) production first reached the Royal Opera House’s main stage in 2002, and since it has enjoyed frequent revivals. Set in a colourful Neverland that draws on fashion and design from the 18th century to the 1980s, Loy’s rendition highlights the opera’s multifarious comic world. Finnish soprano Karita Mattila reprises the dual roles of Prima Donna and Ariadne, building on her wildly passionate appearance in 2014. Ruxana Donose returns as the frustrated Composer, as does Jane Archibald in the bravura part of Zerbinetta, the rambunctious leader of the burlesque troupe who crashes into the mythological tale. Robert Dean Smith, known for his warm tones, joins for the first time as the Tenor and Bacchus.
This is one of the hallmark productions of the twenty-first century Royal Opera House, and richly deserves another revival. If you haven’t seen it before, or missed its most recent run, it is a must.
|What||Ariadne auf Naxos, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
10 Oct 15 – 16 Oct 15, 7:30 PM – 10:20 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Opera House|