Bold. Brave. Brilliant.
Music by Richard Strauss, Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Ariadne auf Naxos


Arizona Opera is delighted to at last present this Strauss masterpiece, which comes to the stage after its planned performances in Spring 2020, which were delayed due to the pandemic. Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera within an opera—a satirical farce that combines sublime music with hilarious antics.

A wealthy gentleman in Vienna commissions two pieces of entertainment as an after dinner treat for his guests, to be performed by two separate groups of artists: a dramatic opera and a lighted hearted theatrical comedy. Unfortunately, the dinner is running late, and the two ensembles are forced to performance on stage together, at the same time.

The heroine from the operatic story, Ariadne, has been abandoned by Theseus. She laments her lost love and yearns for death, as Zerbinetta and her four companions from the commedia dell’arte troupe attempt to cheer on Ariadne by singing and dancing, but without success. Zerbinetta insists that the best way to cure a broken heart is to find another love. Meanwhile, each of the four commedia men pursues Zerbinetta. High drama and great comedy ensue as Strauss’ exquisite score—which includes the popular Composer’s Aria and stratospheric Zerbinetta’s Aria—carries the action to an ecstatic and love-filled conclusion.

Arizona Opera is grateful to have reassembled many artists from the original 2020 cast, including soprano Rebecca Nash as Ariadne, a role which will be shared with newcomer Leah Hawkins. Ms. Nash was the inaugural winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Singing Award and has an international career that includes performances at the Metropolitan Opera (the Met), Carnegie Hall, the Glyndebourne Festival, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

An alumna of The Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Leah Hawkins will be making her company debut with Arizona Opera as Ariadne, coming off a dynamic 2021/22 Season that has included appearances at The Met in the acclaimed new Terrence Blanchard opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, as well as performances in both new and canonical work at companies such as Opera National de Paris, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Des Moines Metro Opera.

This new production of Ariadne auf Naxos will be led by director Chuck Hudson, whose recent Arizona Opera productions of Don Pasquale and Falstaff earned high critical and audience praise. Mr. Hudson has also directed productions at major companies including Cape Town Opera (South Africa), Cincinnati Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Austin Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and the San Francisco Opera Center.



Phoenix – December 2 - 4, 2022 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson – December 10 & 11, 2022 – Temple of Music and Art

Performed in German with English and Spanish supertitles

Arizona Opera McDougall RED Series
Estimated Running Time: 2 hours and 32 minutes with 1 intermission
Part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Karen Wadman and Michael and Beth Kasser.


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