Strauss's Ariadne Auf recorded live at the Opernhaus Zurich in 2006. In a series of groundbreaking productions from Opera Zurich, TDK presents a production of Ariadne auf Naxos, one of many beautifully crafted operas created by Richard Strauss and his librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. In the compelling production recorded on this Blu-Ray, Christoph von Dohnány leads a particularly strong cast of singer-actors in a thrilling interpretation of the work. Ariadne is sung by the American soprano Emily Magee, who has received worldwide praise for her performances in works by both Wagner and Strauss. The German-born Italian tenor Roberto Saccà, who is now regarded as one of the leading lyric tenors of his generation, takes the part of Bacchus. Both made their role débuts under Christoph von Dohnányi's subtle yet sensual leadership, and both were acclaimed for their vocal radiance, subtle handling of the text and the care that they lavished on the technical aspects of their parts. Exploring the essence of the piece, the director Claus Guth and his designer Christian Schmidt worked with the binary opposites that are posited on every level of the work and that seem to be so clear-cut: on the one hand, there is the reality of the prologue and, on the other, the artifi ciality of the opera. In this production, curtains symbolizing the theatre provide the mere undecorated space within which the prologue is acted out. The protagonists are in a state of suspension, not yet having laid aside their old personalities and not yet having assumed the new roles assigned to them. Conversely, the artistic character of the opera itself is explored, revealing within this uniquely artificial construct the most profound of human truths, that the antinomies of life and art, being and appearance, fidelity and infidelity, deathly paralysis and living transformation are artificial and are in fact more interconnected than they seem. An entertaining and intelligently crafted production of one of the key operas exploring the intertextuality that occurs between "real life" and what today would be called "virtual reality".
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