by Hannah Schoepe
What could be better than an evening of opera with a world-class orchestra and stars of the opera world? There’s an easy answer: two operas, one performed within the other. (A free piece of opera cake to crown the evening would add to the final flourish — but let’s not push our luck.)
Music director Franz Welser-Möst will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in a created-for-Severance Hall production of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos directed by Frederic Wake-Walker on January 13 at 4:00 pm, January 17 at 7:30 pm, and January 19 at 8:00 pm. The performances mark the first time Ariadne has been programmed by the Orchestra.
The story tells the tale of two opera companies who each commission very different works, only to find themselves in an unfortunate situation — forced to portray them side by side. “Ariadne auf Naxos is opera about opera — the highs and lows, the artistic dreams and the harsh realities,” Wake-Walker said in a press release. “It is about a theater full of egos and eccentrics, divine divas and clumsy clowns, backstage intrigue and last-minute rehearsals. Yet ultimately, it is about how opera is able to transcend politics and practicalities and transport us to the land of the gods.”
The production will feature soprano Tamara Wilson, who will make her Severance Hall debut as Ariadne. Wilson first performed with The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Festival in 2015, and has since been hailed by The New York Times as “a young American who sings Verdi with a passion that surpasses stereotype.”
Andreas Schager, who will sing Bacchus, also made his Cleveland Orchestra debut in 2015, in a production of Strauss’s Daphne. He has taken on many prominent roles throughout his career, and has upcoming engagements as Siegfried in the Ring at the Metropolitan Opera, and as Tristan at both the Opéra National de Paris and with Daniel Barenboim at Staatsoper Unter den Linden.
“When it comes to the singers, I’m just really happy that we got Andreas Schager back,” Welser-Möst said in a recent video interview. “He is number one in the world, and Tamara Wilson has such a beautiful voice. For Ariadne you need this kind of creamy, yet on the edge of dramatic voice.” The program will also feature mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and soprano Daniela Fally.
Scenic, lighting, and projection designer Alexander Nichols will transform Severance Hall into a theater with advanced projection technology and silent cinema, utilizing its stunning architectural features — which video content designer Dominic Robertson called “obviously spectacular” — as ornaments in the overall picture. “Opera in the twenty-first century is morphing into a completely new medium, which is the point of Ariadne Auf Naxos.”
For a full calendar and ticketing information click here.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 13, 2018.
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