Ariadne auf Naxos
Premiere performances: 19 and 21 January 2024 at the Estates Theatre
The Estates TheatreApproximate running time
2 hours 30 minutes, 1 intermission (20 minutes) minutesLanguage
In German, surtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
January 19, 2024
The principal theme of Ariadne auf Naxos is the competition and respect between “high” and “low” art.
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Opera Ballet
In the early 20th century, Richard Strauss shocked theatre-goers with two one-act operas, Salome and Elektra, that to an unprecedented degree conveyed heightened emotions by means of wild, ear-splitting musical expression, reaching sonic extremities. Yet the composer subsequently decided to change the style and make a conciliatory step towards opera audiences. First he wrote Der Rosenkavalier, a still widely popular piece, in which, however, the quintessential Straussian bustle both in the orchestra and on the stage still predominates, followed by the far more intimate and far more serene Ariadne auf Naxos. The latter’s original version, dating from 1912, was conceived as a postlude to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, but in 1916 Strauss revised it into the form of an independent opera, in which it is most frequently performed today. Even though not anyhow indicated by the title, the principal theme of Ariadne auf Naxos is the competition and respect between “high” and “low” art. What is more, Strauss also reveals the timeless boorishness of those who, aiming to improve their poor cultural status, resolve to become “patrons of the arts”.
The spectators of Strauss’s piece have a choice – like when switching between television channels, for a while they watch a serious opera about Ariadne, abandoned by her lover, and for a while a low-brow farce about the frolicsome Zerbinetta. Thus was the decision taken by the wealthy host of the bizarre performance, which cannot run a millisecond longer than scheduled, as art will be followed by fireworks and supper …
Strauss’s “comedy/tragedy” is returning to the National Theatre in Prague after 45 years, this time as staged by the Slovak director Sláva Daubnerová, who has previously created for us several acclaimed adaptations of operas, including of Leoš Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček and Rodion Shchedrin’s Lolita.
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Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. We are currently selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika taking place in February-June 2024.
What to wear?
By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.
Buffets at the Estates Theater
No waiting. For your benefit, please pre-order your food and beverages at the bar to minimize waiting in the queue!
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