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Arizona Opera's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' opens this weekend, after cancelation in 2020

Arizona Opera's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' opens this weekend, after cancelation in 2020

  • Cast of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' on stage.
    Tim Trumble PhotographyCast of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' on stage.

Join a wealthy man for an after-dinner show in his home in Vienna in an "opera within an opera." Arizona Opera's production of Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos" is sure to keep the audience in stitches this weekend.

"We were actually supposed to do this as part of our 2019 to 2020 season," said Joseph Specter, president and general director for Arizona Opera.

While it is an emotional time for the company as they enter a "new normal," they're looking forward to welcoming audiences at the Temple of Music and Art in Downtown Tucson. Specter said the opera is appropriate for people ages 12 and older.

"Ariadne auf Naxos" tells the story of the happenings during a dinner affair at the main character's home.

He had scheduled two performances to take place after dinner before the fireworks show — one is a theatrical comedy and the other a dramatic opera. However, due to timing, both groups are told to perform at the same time, much to everybody's displeasure.

The opera performance is led by Ariadne as she is overwhelmed with grief after Theseus abandoned her. Meanwhile, the members of the commedia dell'arte troupe - which includes their leading lady Zerbinetta - try to help her see a silver lining. Chaos ensues.

"It's almost like a sitcom," Specter said. "There's these two arias performed by the leading women of each group that are just incredible and full of vocal fireworks."

The cast is comprised of 16 members and no chorus, so each person plays an important role, Specter said.

"We're looking forward to bring the community together through art," Specter said. "I think what you walk away with is thematically this idea of accepting the serious nature of the world and the ridiculous."

The opera is performed in German, but there will be supertitles in English and Spanish.

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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