Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

“Ariadne Auf Naxos” by Strauss at Pacific Opera Victoria, in B.C., Canada

Posted by glennled on June 2, 2014

Royal Theatre, Victoria, B.C., Canada, from a loge in the balcony

Royal Theatre, Victoria, B.C., Canada, from a loge in the balcony

On Saturday, 15 February, the weather in Victoria, B.C., Canada was shivery cold and windy. Clipper Navigation, operators of the large, 300-passenger catamarns that speedily ferry people back and forth between Seattle and Victoria, cancelled our 5 p.m. trip home due to the rough crossing that day of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, and Puget Sound. My wife and I had a choice–go home early at 3 p.m. Saturday or wait till the Sunday, 5 p.m. sailing. So, what did we do? Naturally, we stayed in town and went to the opera!DBPB_1954_124_Richard_Strauss

At the Royal Theatre in downtown Victoria, B.C., Canada, the Pacific Opera Victoria company performed Ariadne Auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. As opera novices, of course, we’d never seen it or even heard of it, although the second (revised) version premiered in Vienna on 4 October 1916–almost 98 years ago.

According to the Artistic Director and Conductor, Timothy Vernon, it’s an opera about an opera, and in it, Strauss created “the greatest coloatura [soprano] part in all opera.” Two troupes of performers, one a serious opera company and the other a burlesque group, arrive one evening to entertain the dinner guests of the richest man in Vienna, expecting to present separate performances. They are ordered to present both performances at once, finishing not one minute longer than nine o’clock when there would be fireworks in the garden.

Ariadne (opera) has been abandoned by her lost love and longs to die. Zerbinetta (burlesque) intervenes with her advice that finding another man is the easiest and simplest way to get over a broken heart and that when a new love arrives, the only choice is to yield to it. These conflicting views make the opera.

And this opera made our trip–our fifth to Victoria in the previous 14 months.

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