If there is an opera that causes more bouts of stifled exasperation or muddled confusion than Ariadne auf Naxos, its title remains a mystery. The music─ sublime, the plot─ a headscratcher; Strauss’s “opera within an opera” elicits both “ahhs !” as well as “huhs ?!” At least, that’s how I felt when I viewed the opera as part of the Met’s free streaming that was offered when the house was dark.
Armed with the illuminating advantage of past experience, I had my reasons for attending this current Ariadne, but none greater than to see and hear Lise Davidsen as the prima donna/exiled goddess.
With the voice of a titan and the face of a schoolgirl, there is little doubt that Lise is a star. Unleashing her full power during “Es gibt ein Reich” was like having a blast of thunder rattle your bones. An answer of satisfaction was given to the promulgated hype, but what took me by surprise was the caliber of the performances given by the other singers. Isabel Leonard’s frustrated idealism as the Composer won my fervent applause.
Opera seria interpolated with an Italian farce sounds strange, but the plot of Ariadne auf Naxos was much clearer to me the second time around and really deserves a further listen. With the cast that performed and the resplendent orchestra of the Met, that task was highly agreeable.
Despite being the titular character of the opera, Ariadne is not that interesting of a leading lady. She’s weepy, melancholy, and a touch morbid over her present fate of lonesome exile. She may have a great aria, but for the most part, her character is just “blah” until Bacchus sails in and whisks her away to the heavens. However, there is a complete comic foil to Ariadne’s gloominess: the coquettish clown, Zerbinetta.
When I watched the 2003 Ariadne auf Naxos with Deborah Voigt and Natalie Dessay, I was captivated by the spitfire vocalism and personality of the coloratura soprano, Zerbinetta. She steals the show, every time. In addition to her dynamic role, she also has the best costume in the whimsical Elijah Moshinsky production ─ harlequin from top to toe with 18th century embellishments. Who would want to play Ariadne when Zerbinetta’s character and outfit are so much fun ?! My costume choice was easy: harlequin, please !
I made everything about my outfit, excluding the tights and shoes. While it was one of the most labor-intensive projects I’ve completed to date, all the components played together into a kaleidoscopic array of FUN ! All that was needed was a little bit of sass…
As a creator, I love all my “children,” but this outfit, which started out as entirely white, was an especial favorite. And that hat ! Would you believe that it was made out of felt and cardstock ?! The cockade of feathers and tulle tufts solidified my look as uniquely “Zerbinetta.”
It was impossible not to be happy while wearing this outfit, at the same time seeing its double on the big screen. And it was impossible not to be enchanted by Strauss’s dreamy (and quirky) Ariadne auf Naxos.
Toi, Toi, Toi,
For the ‘step-by-step’ on how I created Zerbinetta’s kaleidoscopic harlequin costume, check out the post below:
Cast and Credits:
Ariadne auf Naxos ─ Richard Strauss (1912)
Live in HD air date: March 12, 2022
Ariadne ─ Lise Davidsen
Zerbinetta ─ Brenda Rae
Composer ─ Isabel Leonard
Bacchus ─ Brandon Jovanovich
Harlequin ─ Sean Michael Plumb
Music Master ─ Johannes Martin Kränzle
Major-Domo ─ Wolfgang Brendel
Conductor ─ Marek Janowski
Production ─ Elijah Moshinsky
Set and Costume Designer ─ Michael Yeargan
Lighting Designer ─ Gil Wechsler
Live in HD Director ─ Gary Halvorson
Host ─ Matthew Polenzani
12 thoughts on “Ariadne auf Naxos”
Very nice!! You looked the part, perfectly!
Your costume looks just as good as the Met’s!
Very nice MM! I especially love the hat and all that sass. 😀
Oh, this design just screams FUN‼️‼️😃. The hat is perfect with the shoes and stockings!
What did your Mom have to say about this design?
She was on board until the hat was put on my head. Then she thought I looked like the Madame of a saloon !
MM you have certainly developed an amazing talent. Beautiful. ❤️
I just love seeing all of your beautiful outfits. You are so talented in writing and sewing! You look absolutely beautiful. So much fun!
Fantastic!! I love seeing all your creations, and I can see why this one is a favorite.
Despite the ups and downs of Ariadne which you so aptly describe, I would have enjoyed seeing it with you. “Stifled exasperation” is in vogue these days, especially among those of us who have been advised against indoor gatherings for two years now! Be well. Be blessed. Johanna Schedler
Fantastic! Your vision and talents amaze me. Keep them coming for all of us to enjoy!
MM, as always, just stunning! That costume is a work of art! See you on Monday and I’m looking forward to your program! ♥️Lynne
Sent from my iPad M. Lynne Hulen
Absolutely love it ! Outstanding execution from top to bottom. Love the hat, as well !