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Venice, Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss is staged at the Fenice in the new staging designed by Paul Curran, conducted by Markus Stenz
The opera, with a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is a perfect example of theater within the theatre, with an original mix of mythological drama and commedia dell'arte
Organized by: La Fenice Theater Foundation

La Fenice Theater Foundation Presents

“ Opera and Ballet Season 2023 – 24 ”
From 21 to 30 June 2024 the La Fenice Theater in Venice presents Ariadne at Naxos of Richard Strauss in a new production entrusted to the Scottish director Paul Curran, with the musical direction of Markus Stenz.

The staging, created with the Teatro Comunale of Bologna and the Teatro Verdi of Trieste, makes use of the sets and costumes of Gary McCann and the lighting design of Howard Hudson, while the German director, at the head of theLa Fenice Orchestra, will lead a cast made up of Karl-Heinz Macek, Markus Werba, Anna Lucia Richter, John Matthew Myers, Nicola Pamio, Blagoj Nacoski, Francis Milanese, Matteo Ferrara, Erin Morley, Will be Jakubiak, Äneas Humm, Mathias Frey, Szymon Chojnacki, Enrico Cheesemakers, Jasmine Delfs, Marie Seidler is Giulia Bolcato.

Ariadne auf Naxos, opera in one act with prologue with libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, was initially composed by Strauss as a divertissement set in a representation of Molière's Bourgeois gentilhomme. Inspired by the myth of Ariadne, the work was originally conceived as a show offered by the protagonist of the comedy to the guests gathered in his palace, a perfect example of theater within the theatre. In this first form the work debuted on 25 October 1912 in Stuttgart. However, the public appreciated the opera more than the comedy and Hugo von Hofmannsthal decided to separate the two parts, giving Ariadne its own life, to which he added a Prologue which maintains the expedient of the theater within the theatre. In the new version Ariadne auf Naxos debuted in Vienna on 4 October 1916.

«I absolutely don't believe that Ariadne is a pure divertissement – explained the director Paul Curran –. In this work Strauss does what he does in all his works: he examines the human state, analyzes how human beings react to each other, the difficulty of compromise, as in the case of the music teacher when he says to his student: «Look: if you want to do it, you have to compromise because the world is not perfect." So I think that – together with Hoffmansthal – today Strauss gives us a wonderful lesson, in this world of ours where everything is digital, perfect and wonderful. But the world is far from perfect and wonderful, and any human being who wants to tell a story or do any kind of work or have a successful relationship will have to compromise and live a human rather than an idealized life. Ariadne represents the ideal: her desire to be with Theseus is purely idealistic. In reality Theseus does not return, and Bacchus arrives instead. His story tells us that idealism applies only to the mind, and not to real life. Therefore, I repeat, I do not think it is a divertissement; I think it's very funny and although the prologue is written as a comedy and the second part of the opera is a combination of comedy and tragedy, in the last part of the opera there is no more comedy after the Second Quintet; we go straight into the story of Ariadne and Bacchus. I think it's a wonderful, brilliantly structured work."

«Ariadne's score can be defined as a tailor-made score – declared the conductor Markus Stenz –, something particularly suitable and congenial to this story and the surprising idea of having multiple situations happening simultaneously. This fact in itself makes it very modern, because if you look at life today you realize that it is extremely complex: how many times a week do you have to face a tragedy or can you have a laugh? It is probably a universal truth, even considering the time in which the work was written. It was especially true for that era: sadness and happiness at the same time, in the same scene. Strauss therefore invented something that really allows us to experience the completeness of life, and that makes Ariadne so relevant to today's audiences too. Therefore, if it is true that with this work the two artists look backwards, what makes it so current, similar to today's scores, is the idea of uniting the complexities of life".

(Photo Michele Crosera – La Fenice Theatre)
Venice, Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss is staged at the Fenice in the new staging designed by Paul Curran, conducted by Markus Stenz


Der Haushofmeister Karl-Heinz Macek
A Musiklehrer Markus Werba
Der Komponist Sophie Harmsen
Der Tenor (Bacchus) John Matthew Myers
Once again Nicola Pamio
Ein Tanzmeister Blagoj Nacoski
Ein Perückenmacher Francesco Milanese
Ein Lakai Matteo Ferrara
Zerbinetta Erin Morley
Primadonna (Ariadne) Sara Jakubiak
Harlekin Äneas Humm
Skirmish Mathias Frey
Truffaldin Szymon Chojnacki
Brighella Enrico Casari
Najade Jasmin Delfs
Dryad Marie Seidler
Echo Giulia Bolcato

Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice
director Markus Stenz
direction Paul Curran
sets and costumes Gary McCann
light design Howard Hudson New staging at Teatro La Fenice in co-production with Teatro Comunale of Bologna and Teatro Verdi of Trieste


Ariadne auf Naxos
operates in a prologue and an act

music by Richard Strauss
booklet by Hugo von Hofmannsthal


21 June 2024 at 7pm 'premiere' performances 23 and 30 June at 5pm 25 and 27 June at 7pm

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