Dense and dramatic Ariadne

Claus Guth’s 2006 production of Ariadne auf Naxos recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich in 2006 is a compelling piece of theatre.  It’s one of those Regietheater pieces that combines a workable concept with compelling Personenregie to create a whole that’s extremely illuminating.  The entire Vorspiel is played out, in modern dress, in front of a grey curtain.  We get an immediate idea of how Guth is going to explore/exploit metatheatricality as soon as the Haushofmeister appears.  He’s played by none other than Zürich Intendant Alexander Pereira.  Who is calling the shots?  This is reinforced when he drops the bombshell that the opera seria must be combined with Zerbinetta’s farce.  This speech is delivered by Pereira from among his guests in the Intendant’s box.  It’s very clever.  But there’s so much more going on during the Vorspiel.  The Komponist is getting seriously deranged; perhaps even more so after he begins his infatuation with Zerbinetta.  There’s a moment when it looks like a love triangle is being set up.  The diva just gives one look that suggests that she’s got her eyes on the Komponist.  It’s a typical moment.  A look, a gesture, seems to convey so much.  It all concludes with the deranged Komponist shooting himself.

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