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date: 21 November 2019

Ariadne auf Naxos(ii) (‘Ariadne on Naxos’)locked

  • David Murray

Extract

(‘Ariadne on Naxos’)

Opera by Richard Strauss to a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal , existing in two versions: ‘ Ariadne I’, in one act, to be played after a German version of Molière ’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme, and ‘ Ariadne II’, in a prologue and one act; I, Stuttgart, Hoftheater (Kleines Haus), 25 October 1912, and II, Vienna, Hofoper, 4 October 1916.

In early 1911, while Der Rosenkavalier – the first wholly purpose-built collaboration between Hofmannsthal and Strauss – enjoyed its triumphant first performances, ideas for three new projects came to them. One was to thank Max Reinhardt for his productions of Wilde’s Salomé and Hofmannsthal’s Elektra (which had inspired Strauss’s third and fourth operas), and unofficially of Der Rosenkavalier itself, by turning a Molière comedy into a German words-and-music piece for his Berlin company. Another was for a half-hour chamber-opera on the Ariadne myth, in which commedia dell’arte characters would collide with 18th-century operatic stereotypes, and the third was for a ‘sombre’ but ‘fantastic’ opera ...

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