Ariadne/Prima Donna

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(Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos). Sop. In the Prologue, the Prima Donna is refusing to rehearse the role of Ariadne, which she will sing in the opera seria. She cannot accept that such a noble work will be followed by anything as vulgar as the comedians’ act. The Music Master does his best to convince her that by performing the role, she will best show up the differences between herself and those to follow. After it has been announced that the opera will have to be shortened, the Prima Donna quietly tells the Music Master that it is the tenor's role which must be cut—people do not want to listen to him trying to reach all his high notes. In the opera seria, Ariadne has been deserted by Theseus. All she wants to do is die—there can be no other love for her. Zerbinetta propounds her own philosophy of life and love—off with the old, on with the new. When Bacchus arrives on the Island of Naxos, Ariadne at first thinks it is Theseus returning to her, then assumes it is the god of death. Gradually, she gives in and prepares to leave with Bacchus in order to find new love—just as Zerbinetta said she should. Aria: Es gibt ein Reich (‘There is a land’). Since its creation, many great Strauss sopranos have been heard in this role, among them Viorica Ursuleac, Germaine Lubin, Maria Reining, Lisa Della Casa, Christa Ludwig, Claire Watson, Gundula Janowitz, Jessye Norman, Heather Harper, Anna Tomowa‐Sintow, Anne Evans, Christine Brewer, Anne Schwanewilms, Deborah Voigt, and Orla Boylan. Created (1912 vers.) by Mizzi (Maria) Jeritza; (1916 vers.) by Maria Jeritza.

Subjects: Opera.

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