citiopera’s latest production “ariadne auf naxos” by richard strauss
Ariadne auf Naxos CitiOpera Charalambous Alexander Moffatt e1459936041542
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In the recently beautifully fully restored Victorian Era theatre hidden inside the Hawthorn Town Hall tonight we were treated to an opera about Opera- about time we felt that this old gem was staged. Best described as “a collision between an ancient romantic version of what opera started out as revisioned” this somewhat confusingly audacious rendering of the arrogance of a commissioning rich person paying artistes to play pre dinner n fireworks display.
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Money they say is wasted on the rich and nvere more so in this hilarious assault on the high-arts/opera as a precursor to dinner.
A troupe of clowns n entertainers are invited to perform followed by a high brow Opera artiste. Time is the real enemy here though as fireworks rule and the whole two very different worlds of comedy foolish fun entertainment Vs high brow artistic performance.
Recipe for disaster this is; this overall work shows the impossibility of 2 very different styles of performance being forced to “merge” into one pre dinner event.
Coarse rude comedians versus Diva artistic work equals confusion delusion and chaos.
Part one before interval stars as confusing mayhem but ends in a somehow creative piece beyond description as artiste becomes fooln fools become artistic.
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Richard Strauss is a classical composer who likes to mix it up no doubt. This totally incongruous combination of pre-dinner frivolity actually works blending impossible opposites sung beautifully though diametrically opposed artistically. The daze of “the rich commissioning person who pays the piper(s) calls the tune” and his lack of taste is evident and indisputable.
Ironically the two at-odds genres blend bizarrely into a gorgeous musical treat with a rich accessible to all beautiful outcome.
After Interval however we shift way back in time with a sonorous styistically dated ancient 19th Century period piece of imagined classic mythology.
Did we love it as much as the last work by CitiOpera ……no was it an enjoyable experience yes; however if you wish to suffer what opera used to be like a hundred years back as counterpoint to creative collision of art Vs entertainment you may safely go home at interval; we stayed for a time trip into what opera once was having adored part one pre interval and being painfully bored by an accurate picture of what we never missed ancient mythology n schmaltz (my opinion only).
Tis company always manages to tackle the trickiness of style well and this compartmentised collection is of great interest to those who fortunately never lived 100 years back. In short comedian-tially relevant cynical indeed; and after interval an accurate portrayal of why people today hate old opera stagings.
Thanks guys you’ve reminded me why we have all moved on…. Brilliantly conducted by Dr David Kram this small by Straussian comparison orchestra sounded unbelievably full rich and stunningly beautiful… you guys have done it again- managing to illuminate the complexity of old Vs new opera perfectly please go see/hear this amazing work richly portrayed by very talent top musicians and singers 10/10 for bravery we need to se what we have never missed in the bad old daze of “Smopera” transposed into a contemporary exercise in taste n style.