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Richard Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos / Levine, Norman, Battle, Troyanos, Metropolitan Opera

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This performance centers around the preparation, performance, and problems that come with staging an opera. Stars Jessye Norman as Primadonna/Ariadne. This Metropolitan Opera production is conducted by James Levine. Information about the performances a

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Tatiana Troyanos, James King, Franz Ferdinand Netwig
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • Producers: Samuel Paul
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068UXJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,914 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Richard Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos / Levine, Norman, Battle, Troyanos, Metropolitan Opera" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Strauss' operas are not as easy to stage as the conventional opera, and finding a cast to sing them equally as difficult.(A bit like Wagner). However, this production from the Metropolitan Opera has not only managed to pull it off, but have done so with a win, win formular. The cast is as powerful as the music itself, then there are the sets, costumes and direction, all equally mastered like a master craftsman working on a prized sculpture.This production has an extremely strong female cast headed off by Tatiana Troyanos who gives the performance of her life as the Composer. Almost bringing the house down in her final statement in the prologue not to mention her skill as an actor. Her singing of "Seien wir wieder gut.....Musik ist eine kunst" blew me away. What a pitty that's all she has to do. One would like to hear her glorious tones again.Then we have Kathleen Batttle as Zerbinetta. Ah! what warm tones and brilliance of voice and character that Kathleen brings to her role. When I heard Kathleen sing "Großmächtige Prinzessin, wer verstünde nicht" I thought that I had died and gone to heaven, what control. Jessye Norman! what can one say of this veteran performer in the title role. The power, the sheer beauty and elegance of her vocal powers. This woman can not only handle the high notes that Strauss demands but those low chest notes roll off her tongue like wine from a bottle. I have never heard Ariadne sung with such conviction, strength and passion. These three singers aptly cast certainly drive this opera home. Barbara Bonney, Gweneth Bean and Dawn Upshaw as Najade, Dryade and Echo respectfully hold their own exceedingly well and balance off the female ensembles with such precission like a well run military machine and enjoying every minutes of it.Read more ›
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"Ariadne Auf Naxos" is Richard Strauss' scintillating foray into the world of neo-classicism. The brilliant innovations of "Salome" and "Elektra" were history, and here, Strauss luxuriated in the beauty of sound as an end in itself. Employing a chamber orchestra of 36 pieces with all the fluency of an master, he, and his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, conjure a delightful two-part opera consisting of a Prologue, which is mostly sung in recitative, and a full-scale operetta boasting some of the most delectable melodies and set-pieces to be found in all opera. Jessye Norman is wonderful as the forlorn and abandoned Ariadne. Kathleen Battle is superb as Zerbinetta, tackling "Grossmachtige Prinzessin" - a virtuoso aria that is to the coloratura soprano what Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto is to the pianist - with a deceptively cavalier aplomb and grace. The rest of the MET cast is a delight. The sets are simple and straightforward, as befits this "play within a play." I watched this performance twice at one sitting, and have to admit getting teary-eyed at the end as Bacchus and Ariadne resolutely face the future, secure in their new love. Strauss' glorious music was never more endearing: pair it with the professionals at the MET and you have an exquisite evening's entertainment. Richard Strauss is sometimes criticized as difficult or too modern: "Der Rosenkavalier" aside, this opera, and subsequent masterpieces such as, "Capriccio," belie such accusations. Strauss, as in this opera, could write music of surpassing mellifluousness. This is a wonderful performance of an enchanting opera.
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I am relatively new to opera, and this DVD introduced me to Strauss' Ariadne Auf Naxos. I don't quite have the words to describe how I felt after viewing the whole thing, let's say I'm blown away. The three leading ladies were absolutely superb in their respective roles, but Norman gave me the most goosebumps. I could never imagine such waves of sound coming from a human throat! Can you say "dramatic"? Such a powerful sound coupled with such dramatic insight into the agonizing character makes for a knock-out of a performance. Kathleen Battle is not a true coloratura but she has the agility and high notes to pull off a stunning Zerbinetta. I've always admired her pure, crystal-clear tones and it's great hearing her sing a ditsy happy character. Troyanos was always known to give stellar performances with equal effort in the singing and the drama. The role of the Composer displays her talents extremely well as there are lots of high notes (for a mezzo anyway), and she gets to portray a jittery worry-wart.
I actually enjoy a silly plot as such found in Ariadne auf Naxos; not everything has to be serious, uptight and boring, which is the impression of opera on many of us teenagers. I thoroughly enjoyed this opera, especially Norman's performance. I completely disagree with the person who said this DVD is overrated. Well, see for yourself, it's really that good!
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By DAJ on February 15, 2006
Format: DVD
This is one of my very favorite operas--because I like Strauss, and because I have always liked the "opera within an opera" effect he uses here. The star turn in the first act by Tatiana Troyanos as the composer is wonderful. Strauss loved his female singers, and the parts of Ariadne and Zerbinetta are stunners. Jessye Norman sings her heart out as Ariadne. She also sings it on CD, but there is something about the sheer concentration and conviction she has that makes her riviting to watch.

The opinion seems divided here on Kathleen Battle--but I am a fan, and I think that her coquettishness works its charms in this part. She has the range, and hits the notes, while dancing around on stage. Her grand aria is a workout, and she takes it on with aplomb. Another reviewer here thinks a more steely voice is more appropriate to this role, but I think the typical light coloratura of K.B. actually reflects the lightness of this character very well.

The sets are a little heavy, and not as good as the new Met Production. But it is a chance to see two of the most famous prima donnas share the stage together. Not to be missed: the intermission bonus section of James Levine massaging the two massive egos. Very funny, if you know the history behind it.
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Richard Strauss - Ariadne auf Naxos / Levine, Norman, Battle, Troyanos, Metropolitan Opera
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