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February 19, 2010     Post-Gazette
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February 19, 2010

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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 19, 2010 Page 5 HEADLINERS LEAD STELLAR CAST OF Ariadne auf Naxos Boston Lyric Opera to Give North American Premiere of European Production Noah Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera about staging an opera. Here we see some behind-the- scenes intrigue among "cast members". (Photos courtesy of Boston Lyric Opera will introduce the North American premiere of Welsh National Opera's acclaimed production of R. Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at Boston's Citi Perform- ing Arts Center sM Shubert Theatre. The com- edy about creating an opera with a touch of Greek mythology will be conducted and sung by artists who have been making headlines recently in the classical music community. Aligning such talent with an international production reflects BLO's new artistic vision that has unfolded during the Company's 2009- 2010 Season. "We are especially pleased with our selec- tion of such stellar artists to perform in this production," says Esther Nelson, BLO's General and Artistic Director. ACT I BACKSTAGE The "richest man in Vienna" has commis- sioned two pieces for the entertainment of his guests (with a grandiose firework display to follow). One is the heroic opera Ariadne by a young composer whose debut opera this is -- and the other a farce (in the Italian buffo style), the Inconstant Zerbinetta and Her Four Suitors. The Music Master is concerned that his pupil, the Composer, will never per- mit his opera to be performed on the same evening as a vulgar commedia piece. The Major-Domo replies that his noble master is the only one to permit or issue order in this house. The eager Composer is anxious to get in some last minute rehearsal, but finds the violinists are serenading the dinner guests, the Prima Donna is furtively pursuing vari- ous amorous intrigues, and the Tenor is magnificently dissatisfied with his wig. The troupe of comedians, lead by the flirtatious Zerbinetta, appalls the Composer with its vulgar antics and the prospect of its sugges- tive farce on the same program as his sub- lime Ariadne. The Prima Donna and the Tenor are none too happy either and, while Zerbinetta dismisses the whole tradition of opera seria as boring "rubbish," her charms begin to intrigue the Composer. An argument breaks out as to which piece should come first, but the situation is re- solved in a completely unexpected way. The Major-Domo announces that the Commedia will neither precede nor follow Ariadne ... they will be performed simultaneously, therefore allowing the fireworks to be set off at exactly 9 o'clock. He reminds the shocked group that they are all professionals and should be able to arrange such a minor change without much trouble. Everyone tries to figure out how to best cope with this new situation. The Music Master reminds the despondent and confused Composer of the generous commis- sion fee; the Tenor and the Prima Donna both attempt to inveigle the young man into mak- ing cuts in the other's parts; Zerbinetta tries Clive Barda, Welsh National Opera, 2004) to grasp the story of the opera, which she feels could be made much simpler ff Ariadne would just get over her lover Theseus and move on to a new man. Zerbinetta confers with the dancing master as to how to insert their commedia scenario into the plot of the opera - perhaps it would be best if they just landed on Naxos and cheered Ariadne up. The Composer, smitten with Zerbinetta, agrees to devastating cuts and rearrange- ments, but when he actually sees the commedia troupe rush onto the set for Ariadne, he regrets his decision. It is too late however, for the curtain is rising... ACT II ONSTAGE The curtain rises on the desert island of Naxos where Ariadne, deserted by Theseus, is exhausted by grief, and longs only for the purity and release of death. Her three atten- dant nymphs do not seem to be able to com- fort her, nor can the members of the commedia troupe who attempt to cheer her up with a song and dance routine. Zerbinetta, grows tired of her fellow actors' futile ges- tures and, dismissing them, decides to tackle Ariadne on her own. She tries to point out that different as they are, they are both women and therefore have suffered deser- tion and betrayal and yet she, Zerbinetta, has never given up on men. Ariadne will not listen to her and with- draws, but Zerbinetta continues to impart her worldly wisdom -- Men are beasts, but who can resist them? When she believed that she loved one truly and forever there always came another ... a new and stealthy love ... and the inevitable surrender to a new god. There is no response from Ariadne. Zerbinetta's companions return and vie for her favors, she chooses her lover of the day, Harlequin. The nymphs then excitedly announce the arrival of the god Bacchus. For a moment, Ariadne believes it is Theseus returning to her but then hails him as a messenger of Death come to take her away on his dark ship. Bacchus declares he is a young god tri- umphant in his new power, destined to bring her back to the freedom of life and the tran- scendent joys of love. Ariadne ecstatically embraces her new existence. Zerbinetta appears from the wings to remind the audi- ence that she was right all along: when a new god comes we surrender without a word. The Citi Performing Arts Center sM Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont Street will present Ariadne auf Noxas on March 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 2010. Sunday matinees at 3pro. All other performances at 7:30pm. Sung in Ger- man with projected English translation. Tickets are available by calling 866-348- 9738, (TrY 888-889-8587),, or in person at the Citi Performing Arts Center Box Office, 270 Tremont Street in Boston, Tuesday-Sunday, 12noon-6pm. THE NORTH END FRIENDS OF ST. FRANCIS HOUSE Bake Sale The North End Friends of St. Francis House will be hav- ing our 6 th Annual Bake Sale and Flea Market on Friday, March 19 th from 8am to 6pm and Saturday, March 20 th from 10am to 2pro. As many of you have in the past, we need donations of household items so we can sell them at our flea market. All proceeds go to the St. Francis House Home- less Shelter in Boston. Last year we raised just over $8,000 and we have an anonymous donor who matches all we make. We will accept toys, books, small house hold appli- ances, knick-knacks, costume jewelry, games, CD's, DVD's, small pieces of furniture, lamps, stereo's, coffee tables. Everything must be clean and in good working order -- NO CLOTHES. We will start collecting donations the week of March 15 th which can be drop off at the Nazzaro Center. The North End Friends of St. Francis House is made up of the Romano, Scimeca and Carangelo families! Please note on Friday and Saturday we will have Mama Romano's world famous eggplant, meatball and sausage sandwiches for sale. Lastly, we will also be collecting spare change as well, no donation is too small or too big! If you are not around and want to donate -- you can mail a check made out to St. Francis House and send it to: John Romano, 247 Burlington Avenue, Wilmington, Massachusetts 01887. Feel free to call me with any questions (617) 880-9901. -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 LUCIA RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine Donato Fraltoroli 415 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113 617.367.2353 -- Open for Lunch and Dinner Daily- Private dining rooms for any occasion donato@luciaboston.corn www.luciaboston.corn