Ariadne auf Naxos
is an opera
in one act + prologue by Richard Strauss
, text by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
(This dude hasn't been noded
yet, but he will be before the day's out). First performed at Stuttgart
, October 25, 1912.
Written while waiting to hear this opera
from the Metropolitan Opera House
on the radio
House of a Viennese nouveau riche
The curtain opens on the preparation for the production of a serious opera, comissioned by the house owner to be performed at a party as part of the entertainment. The other part of the entertainment will be a light Harlequinade. The Major-domo arrives to announce that both presentations together cannot go beyond 9:00 pm when the fireworks begin. The news throws everyone into a tizzy which is hightened when the pompous Major-domo returns to let them know that both the opera and Harlequinade must be presented simultaneously.
In a moment the curtain again rises on the opera itself with the owner of the house and his guests watching from the boxes. At the opening of a cave Ariade appears to be sleeping, attended by Naiad, Dryad and Echo. As Ariadne sings of unrequited love the Harlequinade begins with Zerbinetta of the harlequin troop expostulating on Ariadne's distress. When Hermes is mentioned, as the messenger of death, Ariadne becomes even more distraught.
The comedians continue in their attempts to cheer Ariadne up, but are unsuccessful. Finally Zerbinetta tries on her own, assuring Ariadne that she is not the first woman to be jilted by a lover. Ariadne, however, just retires to the inside of the cave. There is more of the Harlequinade, which is interrupted by the nymphs who excitedly announce that the youthful god Bacchus will soon arrive on the island, looking for adventure. Bacchus calls for Circe, whom he has just left, but Ariadne thinks he is the messanger of death. They embrace and Ariadne finds consolation. Zerbinetta is right there to make some smart remarks about how things had turned out just as she expected. And the opera ends.