Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ariadne Auf Naxos – Zürich 2006 (Part 2: They Shoot Composers, Don't They?)

<rant> People who complain that Ariadne is not regal enough, or Zerbinetta isn’t perky enough make me nuts.  It’s an opera about mythical and theatrical characters. For that matter, it’s an opera about opera.  So, how would one propose a literal staging or interpretation?  OK, that was rhetorical, although if anyone has some ideas, I welcome them.  Ariadne is supposed to be on a deserted island. If there are some paper maché rocks and cliffs on stage, does it suddenly become more believable? I suggest for the perfect literal/realistic interpretation, the entire audience be flown to an actual deserted island with real rocks and caves. </rant>

OK, here is what I think: The Music Teacher is really a psychotherapist. Ariadne, Bacchus, Zerbinetta, and the Lackey (Really?? Yes.) are all aspects of the Composer’s personality.  Ariadne and Bacchus both represent to him ideal love: Ariadne is his ideal woman, and he sees himself as Bacchus; Zerbinetta is his inclination to be more realistic in his expectations of himself and others; and the Lackey is his subconscious. (This accounts for the Lackey’s extra-quirky behavior – as opposed to the “natural” behavior of the rest of the cast in the Prologue. Note the Lackey dons the Eselkopf that the composer calls him. He also is the one who facilitates the Composer’s suicide.)  It seems like the Composer is under attack from all the other characters in the Prologue (classic persecution complex!)

At the opening of the Prologue, the Composer seems to be asleep, under green lighting. He starts awake as the lights go to white. The entire Prologue is played in black and white, with a lot of expressionistic use of light and shadow.   It seems that the Prima Donna (Ariadne) and the Composer are having an affair, or at least she would like to; she certainly is not happy when she sees Zerbinetta flirting with him!  Pretty much all of the behavior of the people on stage in this white-curtained limbo is erratic, if not surrealistic. The edict that both entertainments should take place simultaneously comes from on high (the Major Domo – played by the actual intendent of the Zürich Opera – from his own theater box), and the entire cast freezes each time he speaks.  At the final tableau, it looks like the Composer is going to shoot himself.

Are you still with me? In the next post, I will talk (and maybe rant) about the “Opera” part of the opera. 

P.S. Since this is directed by Claus Guth, we will say it's definitely Regie!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are very welcome! They won't be moderated; but rude, abusive, and/or radically off-topic posts will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...