"Ariadne auf Naxos" was conceived as a one-act opera to be performed as an interlude in an abridged version of Molière's play "Le bourgeois gentilhomme". But due to the hybrid nature of the project, Strauss and his librettist eventually decided to write a musical prologue to replace the play. To fit in with its 18th-century conception and inspiration, Strauss scored the work for a far smaller orchestra than his previous operas. The charm of a mock old-fashioned harlequinade is set beside a virtuoso handling of three types of soprano: coloratura (Zerbinetta), lyric (Composer) and dramatic (Ariadne). This Vienna State Opera production, featuring Gundula Janowitz, René Kollo, Trudeliese Schmidt and Walter Berry with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Karl Böhm, drew rave reviews. In particular, the young Edita Gruberova as Zerbinetta was heralded as the "event of the evening," whose "exquisite phrasing, sublime timbre and brilliant coloratura fireworks served up with witty and charming
nonchalance brought her endless and justified ovations. This was clearly her final leap to the top of the world's best vocalists." (Kurier)


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Edita Gruberová

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Gundula Janowitz