Prague National Theatre tickets 30 May 2024 - Ariadne auf Naxos |

Ariadne auf Naxos

Prague National Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00
Sung in: German
Titles in: Czech,English
Conductor: Robert Jindra
Orchestra: The National Theatre Orchestra
Composer: Richard Strauss
Librettist: Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Stage Director: Sláva Daubnerová

The principal theme of Ariadne auf Naxos is the competition and respect between “high” and “low” art.

In the early 20th century, Richard Strauss shocked theatre-goers with two one-act operas, Salome and Elektra, that to an unprecedented degree conveyed heightened emotions by means of wild, ear-splitting musical expression, reaching sonic extremities. Yet the composer subsequently decided to change the style and make a conciliatory step towards opera audiences. First he wrote Der Rosenkavalier, a still widely popular piece, in which, however, the quintessential Straussian bustle both in the orchestra and on the stage still predominates, followed by the far more intimate and far more serene Ariadne auf Naxos. The latter’s original version, dating from 1912, was conceived as a postlude to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Molière’s play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, but in 1916 Strauss revised it into the form of an independent opera, in which it is most frequently performed today. Even though not anyhow indicated by the title, the principal theme of Ariadne auf Naxos is the competition and respect between “high” and “low” art. What is more, Strauss also reveals the timeless boorishness of those who, aiming to improve their poor cultural status, resolve to become “patrons of the arts”.

The spectators of Strauss’s piece have a choice – like when switching between television channels, for a while they watch a serious opera about Ariadne, abandoned by her lover, and for a while a low-brow farce about the frolicsome Zerbinetta. Thus was the decision taken by the wealthy host of the bizarre performance, which cannot run a millisecond  longer than scheduled, as art will be followed by fireworks and supper … 

Strauss’s “comedy/tragedy” is returning to the National Theatre in Prague after 45 years, this time as staged by the Slovak director Sláva Daubnerová, who has previously created for us several acclaimed adaptations of operas, including of Leoš Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček and Rodion Shchedrin’s Lolita.

Premiere of this production: Staatsoper Stuttgart

Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne on Naxos) is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Combining slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention.

Venue Info

Prague National Theatre - Prague
Location   Národní 2

The National Theatre is the prime stage of the Czech Republic. It is also one of the symbols of national identity and a part of the European cultural space, with a tradition spanning more than 130 years. It is the bearer of the national cultural heritage, as well as a space for free artistic creation.

The National Theatre (Czech: Národní divadlo) in Prague is known as the alma mater of Czech opera, and as the national monument of Czech history and art.

The National Theatre belongs to the most important Czech cultural institutions, with a rich artistic tradition, which helped to preserve and develop the most important features of the nation–the Czech language and a sense for a Czech musical and dramatic way of thinking.

Today, the National Theatre is made up of four artistic companies – the Opera, Drama, Ballet and Laterna magika. It artistically manages four stages – the three historical buildings: the National Theatre (1883), the State Opera (1888), and the Estates Theatre (1783), and the more recently opened New Stage (1983). The Opera, Drama and Ballet companies perform not only titles from the ample classical legacy, in addition to Czech works, they also focus on contemporary international creation.

Grand opening

The National Theatre was opened for the first time on 11 June 1881, to honour the visit of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Bedřich Smetana's opera Libuše was given its world premiere, conducted by Adolf Čech. Another 11 performances were presented after that. Then the theatre was closed down to enable the completion of the finishing touches. While this work was under way a fire broke out on 12 August 1881, which destroyed the copper dome, the auditorium, and the stage of the theatre.

The fire was seen as a national catastrophe and was met with a mighty wave of determination to take up a new collection: Within 47 days a million guldens were collected. This national enthusiasm, however, did not correspond to the behind-the-scenes battles that flared up following the catastrophe. Architect Josef Zítek was no longer in the running, and his pupil architect Josef Schulz was summoned to work on the reconstruction. He was the one to assert the expansion of the edifice to include the block of flats belonging to Dr. Polák that was situated behind the building of the Provisional Theatre. He made this building a part of the National Theatre and simultaneously changed somewhat the area of the auditorium to improve visibility. He did, however, take into account with utmost sensitivity the style of Zítek's design, and so he managed to merge three buildings by various architects to form an absolute unity of style.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Prague, Czech Republic
Starts at: 19:00
Sung in: German
Titles in: Czech,English
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