Magazine article Opera Canada

Ariadne Auf Naxos

Magazine article Opera Canada

Ariadne Auf Naxos

Article excerpt

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS

RICHARD STRAUSS

Chandos. 3168(2)

Philanthropist Sir Peter Moore's Opera in English project, designed in part to encourage English-speakers to explore opera after experiencing works in their native language, now boasts a catalogue of dozens of complete operas and recitals (one by Gerald Finley being a much-acclaimed recent example of the latter). This complete performance of Strauss's witty opera within an opera within an opera is a nice addition, exemplifying the generally high standards in casting and performance.

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It features American soprano Christine Brewer as Ariadne. She has just the right gleaming, sumptuous power for the big Strauss roles, and this is an exuberant performance. It is indeed a pleasure to readily understand her in Christopher Cowell's coherent singing translation of Hofmannstahl's text. She's surrounded by an A-list cast in a work that puts as big a premium on precision ensemble as it does on solo flights of vocal bravura. Her Bacchus is the open-throated American helden-tenor Robert Dean Smith, the Composer, beguiling in her big aria in the Prologue, is Britain's Alice Coote (who sings the rale with the Canadian Opera Company this spring), and her commedia dell' arte foil, Zerbinetta, is Canadian Gillian Keith. …

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