The Arts

Ariadne auf Naxos

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Reviewed by Paula Citron

Ariadne auf Naxos
Canadian Opera Company
Music by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis
Directed by Neil Armfield
Performed by Amber Wagner, Richard Margison, Jane Archibald, Alice Coote and John Easterlin
Four Seasons Centre
Apr. 30 to May 29, 2011

A star is born! American soprano Amber Wagner took over the notoriously difficult title role of Ariadne auf Naxos on opening night, and nailed it. What a talent this young singer is.

Wagner won the Met Auditions in 2007, so she was already a known quantity. She held her own opposite Canadian superstars, tenor Richard Margison as Bacchus, and coloratura soprano Jane Archibald as Zerbinetta, with her huge voice that is both hearty and sweet, with an ease of high notes.

Margison sailed through Bacchus’ gruelling big sing showing some vibrato at the very highest part, while Archibald possesses a formidable coloratura. British mezzo Alice Coote was simply sensational as the Composer, her gorgeous voice both lusty and shimmering.

With the great conductor Sir Andrew Davis in the pit, intelligent stage direction by Neil Armfield, and clever sets and costumes by Dale Ferguson, Ariadne auf Naxos is a winner.

Ariadne auf Naxos continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 29.

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