Clowes Memorial Hall
Oct. 2 and 4
While a play within a play represents a small episode in Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Composer's Opera "Ariadne auf Naxos" takes up more than half of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (1916) - the opera the former is within. Clowes Hall was respectably filled for last Friday's opening Indianapolis Opera production, dealing with: Part 1 (the Prologue) - producing an opera and Part 2 (the Opera) — Ariadne singing about love, only to have its object, the god Bacchus finally appear to supply it. While Indy native, soprano Angela Brown, took the title role in Part 2, she made only brief, in-and-out appearances as the Prima Donna in Part 1, demanding that such and such be done. Brown was upstaged by soprano Jane Dutton as The (male) Composer, who sang only in the Prologue and whose strong, well projected vocalism dominated it. Coloratura Rachele Gilmore as Zerbinetta delivered exquisite high pitches in both parts, her "speech" to Ariadne about love - "Großmächtige Prinzessin" in The Opera - being the evening's high point. Of the male singers, tenor Arnold Rawls needed a bit more heft for the role of Bacchus, who descends onto Ariadne's cave to eventually claim her. Baritone Mark Kilgallon as The Music Master (Prologue) delivered the best projected male voice. Stage director Joachim Schamberger, who "spoke" the Major-Domo's role in the Prelude, gave us a generally smooth production. As Bacchus and Ariadne - god and mortal - slowly ascended to their celestial home after proclaiming a mutual love so chaste and pure, one could not help wondering if they actually planned to have sex after arriving. In a Wagner opera, they'd have been right at it.