Ariadne auf Naxos, Royal Opera House, review: 'An assured take on Strauss’s teasing amalgam of high-flown tragedy and ribald comedy'
Thursday 26 June 2014
Christoph Loy’s serenely assured take on Strauss’s teasing amalgam of high-flown tragedy and ribald comedy is proving one of the most enduringly enjoyable productions in the Covent Garden repertory; the razzmatazz of the Prologue, with its grand to-and-fro between upstairs and downstairs, gives way to an operatic staging whose elegance perfectly matches the restrained beauty of the score.
This time round Karita Mattila incarnates the Prima Donna/Ariadne, and while she prowls (as she must) through the Prologue more as a presence than a voice, the Romanian mezzo Ruxandra Donose charismatically holds things together as the Composer, with a wonderfully pure melodic line; the way Donose melds her sound with that of Jane Archibald’s Zerbinetta - as they realise they are each other’s emotional mirror-image - creates a strangely tender magic. But Mattila goes on to make something marvellous out of Ariadne’s progressive emotional liberation, finding Wagnerian power in her climactic encounter with Roberto Sacca’s sweetly-sung Bacchus.
The other strength of this revival lies in the excellence of the supporting roles. We get a virtuoso ensemble performance by the comedians led by Markus Werba, plus an unusually persuasive Dancing Master (Ed Lyon), a comically petulant Wigmaker (Ashley Riches), and a Lackey with attitude (Jihoon Kim) – this last-named pair both home-grown Royal Opera House talent.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures