Toronto Summer Music Festival – Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos

Toronto Summer Music Festival – Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos featured image

Paula Citron
Ariadne auf Naxos
Toronto Summer Music Festival
Composed by Richard Strauss
Directed by Titus Hollweg
Starring Melinda Delorme, Désirée Till, Erica Iris Huang, Steven Sherwood, Gene Wu and Neil Aronoff
MacMillan Theatre until Aug. 17

For those parched for opera, Toronto Summer Music Festival always gives us a fix, and its production of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is a stunner. How bold of conductor/artistic director Agnes Grossmann to program this very big sing for emerging artists.

That both the young musicians of the National Academy Orchestra and the young singers pull it off is a feat. Grossmann’s dramatic reading of the score borders on the ecstatic, while young Viennese director Titus Hollweg does a terrific job in the staging. Fred Perruzza’s spa set and Lisa Magill’s 1930s costumes are delightful.

Soprano Melinda Delorme is beyond sensational as Ariadne. This very high tessitura is clearly her metier. Mezzo-sopranos Erica Iris Huang as the composer and Laura McAlpine as Dryade, and baritone Gene Wu as the music master also have impressive voices that jump off the stage.

The other singers are not quite on the mark, but are nonetheless effective.

Ariadne auf Naxos continues at the MacMillan Theatre until Sunday.

I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.

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