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Thread: What is Ariadne auf Naxos really all about?

  1. #16
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I wasn't making a blanket recommendation--just a recommendation for David, who found the prologue incomprehensible and musically unsatisfying,
    It's no more incomprehensible than the plot of any Verdi opera.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I wasn't making a blanket recommendation--just a recommendation for David, who found the prologue incomprehensible and musically unsatisfying, and for anyone else who feels the same. I think it's a common reaction--the prologue is pretty difficult to follow and the musical material is largely mediocre--and I think it's a shame if it means people switch it off before the opera section since the opera section is, to me, some of Strauss's best work.
    You’re obviously listening to a different opera than me. The prologue is integral to the whole thing thing and the opera relates entirely to what goes before. It’s the conflict between highbrow and lowbrow and the class struggle between upper class employer and working class employee which is at the heart of Ariadne. The mythological aspect is more of the same, the mortal Ariadne and the Demi-god, Bacchus where the theme is transformation rather than Wagner’s motive of redemption.
    I’m playing 3D chess in my head while the rest of you are playing Hungry Hippos!

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marceliotstein View Post
    what the overall cultural meaning of this opera must have been
    the point of this masterpiece is to show the sublime in a mix with the mundane, where the latter has recipes to help the former, however the main character, a sublime woman of noble origins, ends up embracing alcohol as her only solace.
    Last edited by Zhdanov; May-19-2020 at 20:09.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    You’re obviously listening to a different opera than me. The prologue is integral to the whole thing thing and the opera relates entirely to what goes before. It’s the conflict between highbrow and lowbrow and the class struggle between upper class employer and working class employee which is at the heart of Ariadne. The mythological aspect is more of the same, the mortal Ariadne and the Demi-god, Bacchus where the theme is transformation rather than Wagner’s motive of redemption.
    I imagine the opera section works even better within the full original context without the prologue but after a performance of the adaptation of the Moliere play, but no one does that.

    Odd, the amount of pushback I'm getting for simply suggesting to a new listener of this opera who gave up on it a different approach for possibly gaining more appreciation for it. I'm not suggesting that all future performances cut out the Prologue--I'm making a suggestion for a real life opera fan who reported that they switched it off after the Prologue. What is your advice to him and others like him who find the Prologue unappealing?
    Last edited by howlingfantods; May-19-2020 at 20:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    the point of this masterpiece is to show the sublime in a mix with the mundane, where the latter has recipes to help the former, however the main character, a sublime woman of noble origins, ends up embracing alcohol as her only solace.
    Presumably she's not the only one, glad to see she's got company!

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I imagine the opera section works even better within the full original context without the prologue but after a performance of the adaptation of the Moliere play, but no one does that.

    Odd, the amount of pushback I'm getting for simply suggesting to a new listener of this opera who gave up on it a different approach for possibly gaining more appreciation for it. I'm not suggesting that all future performances cut out the Prologue--I'm making a suggestion for a real life opera fan who reported that they switched it off after the Prologue. What is your advice to him and others like him who find the Prologue unappealing?
    Well think how I feel who has never been able to get on with the opera at all, but now enjoys the Prologue due to how much is going on!? (I can see what David means as it is very busy in performance.) I agree with you the opera proper is totally different, so it is good advice for someone who doesn't warm to the Prologue to try the second part. The themes of the total opera and how it all works as a whole are a different bag of onions and for someone new to the opera its worth listening to it a few times to see if the music appeals of not.

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; May-19-2020 at 21:55.

  10. #22
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    What is your advice to him and others like him who find the Prologue unappealing?
    Cut your losses. Don’t waste time listening to it. Life is short so why would anyone spend time trying to understand and appreciate something which lacks any resonance with them?

    I realised early on in my listening life that bel canto operas weren’t reaching the parts that other stuff was so I don’t listen to Bellini or Donizetti et al. No loss to me but more power to all those who love it.
    I’m playing 3D chess in my head while the rest of you are playing Hungry Hippos!

  11. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I imagine the opera section works even better within the full original context without the prologue but after a performance of the adaptation of the Moliere play, but no one does that. (...)
    I'm a big Strauss fan. I have 11 Ariadne's on cd and 2 on blu-ray.

    One of these blu-ray's features the 1912 version with the adapted Moliere play prefacing the opera (no prologue)
    =>
    71LS+V+dK-L._SL1500_.jpg
    Worth a watch.

    Kent Nagano also recorded this 1912 version on cd.
    Last edited by Andrew Kenneth; May-19-2020 at 23:57.

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