Richard Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos live streamed on the 23rd from Wiener Staatsoper. Be prepared for an adventure. Sven-Eric Bechtolf's realization brings together different versions of Strauss's score together with extra dialogue, some from von Hofmannsthal, some from Molière Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. As an experiment, it's certainly interesting since it develops ideas about the relationship between patrons and artists, between nouveau riche status-seekers and supposedly superior aesthetes, and between the age of Molière, Mozart and Strauss. In theory, conceptually valid, andf a lot more challenging than something lumpen, which misses the different levels on which Ariadne auf Naxos operates. This is not an opera that should be taken at face value! So be prepared for a shock, but be patient. "Ordinary" Ariadnes auf Naxos one can hear anytime. This one probably won't appeal to those who like Strauss coated in sugar, though it's visually delicious and might appeal to those who go mainly for costumes. But it should stimulate those who value the intellect behind Strauss and von Hofmannsthal (who appears "in person").
This cast is different to the one captured on DVD. Christian Thielemann should be fine, though I loved Daniel Harding's witty, elegant and drily subversive Mozartean touch. Soile Isokoski sings/speaks the Diva/Ariadne: she should be good as she has a sense of humour. Some divas, I fear, aren't too comfortable with the subtle way Strauss sets up ageing divas while giving them moments of glory. Johan Botha instead of Jonas Kauffmann - definitely a completely different dynamic. Hearing this production first time live is a bit confusing, but DVD lets you listen more than once, so it grows on you.That said, this is an interesting curiosity, rather than something you'd watch for casual entertainment.
More livestreams coming up:
2nd November: Wagner Tannhäuser (Schneider, Guth)
7th November: Puccini La Bohème (Ettinger,Zefferelli)
21st November: Mussorgsky Khovanschchina (Bychkov, Dodin)
25th November: Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Sascha Goetzel, Jean-Louis Martinoty)
14th December: Rossini La Cenerentola
18th December: Strauss Arabella , which is also available on theWiener Staatsoper archive