Ariadne auf Naxos

Richard Strauss 

<Back to 2018 Season

17, 19*, 21, 25*, 27 July at 7.30pm

New production by Opera Holland Park and Scottish Opera

German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Prologue in English with a new translation by Helen Cooper

With the City of London Sinfonia

*Concession prices are available on these selected dates (£3 off tickets in yellow price zone only)

Performance finishes at 10.10pm and includes a 30 minute interval



The party to end all parties is about to begin. Two contrasting entertainments have been scheduled: a tragic opera by a young composer with high ideals, and a burlesque comedy. Now dinner has overrun, the diva is in a temper, the fireworks are about to begin, and, to everybody’s horror, both groups must perform at the same time.

Strauss’s Viennese backstage comedy of pretension and pragmatism sees the worlds of art and entertainment collide in a score rich with opulent melodies, witty ensembles and coloratura high jinks, as the comedienne, Zerbinetta, and her sidekicks interrupt the composer’s opera and introduce the tragic heroine Ariadne to a new beau, Bacchus.

At the heart of Strauss’s tour de force – the first opera of his to be performed at OHP – is a battle between high and low art, and the message that, with a little help from unexpected sources, even the most broken of hearts can sometimes be mended.

Ariadne auf Naxos is a co-production with Scottish Opera.

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Photos by © Robert Workman and Ali Wright for Opera Holland Park.


Critical acclaim:


“McDonald’s production, in his own designs, is full of lively insight, helped by Helen Cooper’s irreverent English translation for the Prologue, in which the high-minded young Composer and her teacher balk at the thought of her work sharing a stage with ‘Eurotrash rubbish’.

Strauss at Holland Park is off to a flying start.”

– Erica Jeal for The Guardian ★★★★

“Richard Strauss’s opera sounds delicious, while Antony McDonald’s production skilfully negotiates the plot’s twists and turns.”

– George Hall for Financial Times ★★★★

“The duet between [Jennifer France and Julia Sporsén] is the highlight of the night and takes us to the heart of what Strauss and his librettist are trying to tell us about the messiness of life, how a tiny collision of events can mean the universe. There’s also a nice double-act from the men who manage these two artists’ egos, Stephen Gadd’s tweedy music teacher and Jamie MacDougall’s blokeish producer.”

– Neil Fisher for The Times ★★★

“The fine folk of Opera Holland Park have crossed a line. They’re no strangers to good work but this co-production with Scottish Opera tips over into something new: a confident display of world-class brilliance.”

– Mark Valencia for WhatsOnStage ★★★★★

“A vibrant production”

– Inge Kjemtrup for The Stage ★★★★

“This was Opera Holland Park’s first Strauss opera in its 23-year history, and on this basis I hope it won’t be the last.”

– Matthew Rye for Bachtrack ★★★★

“McDonald designs this production with its witty and romantic costumes and it is beautifully lit by Wolfgang Göbbel. Circus skills imparted by Joe Dieffenbacher add some genuinely entertaining tricks to this sparky display of all the talents – there are even real fireworks, always a winner.

Brad Cohen, music director of Western Australia Opera, conducts the City of London Sinfonia, which conjures Strauss’s ethereal, celestial soundworld out of metal and wood.”

– Claudia Pritchard for Culture Whisper ★★★★

“There’s probably never going to be a perfectly-cast Ariadne in the opera house, but this comes closer than any I’ve ever seen live … There’s a luminous aura of smiling confidence about the whole venture – it’s had time to bed in, after all, since its Glasgow launch – and any earthly failings pale into insignificance.”

– David Nice for The Arts Desk ★★★★★

“A magnificent evening, sculpted with real flair by Brad Cohen.”

– Colin Clarke for Seen and Heard International ★★★★




All performances 

Blue £76
Red £70
Green £59
Yellow £50
Pink £20

Concessions are available on certain dates (£3 off yellow price zone only)


Cast and Creatives

Conductor Brad Cohen
Director Antony McDonald
Designer Antony McDonald
Lighting Designer Wolfgang Göbbel
Choreographer Lucy Burge
Circus Skills Director Joe Dieffenbacher
Prologue Translation Helen Cooper
The Prima Donna/Ariadne Mardi Byers
The Tenor/Bacchus Kor-Jan Dusseljee
Zerbinetta Jennifer France
Harlequin Alex Otterburn
Scaramuccio Daniel Norman
Truffaldino Lancelot Nomura
Brighella Elgan Llŷr Thomas
The Party Planner Eleanor Bron
The Professor of Composition Stephen Gadd
The Composer Julia Sporsén
The Producer Jamie MacDougall
Naiad Elizabeth Cragg
Dryad Laura Zigmantaite
Echo Lucy Hall
Wig Master Thomas Humphreys
Butler Trevor Bowes
Officer Oliver Brignall

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Excerpts and arias from Ariadne auf Naxos
Joshua LaRock
For many years OHP has commissioned artists to create images to represent the season's operas. The images are not representations of the productions, but the artist’s interpretations.This year's images were designed by Joshua LaRock.

Joshua LaRock is internationally recognised as a preeminent figurative artist. After receiving a baccalaureate degree in Music Business, LaRock found himself compelled to explore a completely different vocation as an artist in the realm of painting. He attended the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York City and later formed an essential part of their teaching program, dedicating seven years as a core instructor.

LaRock's exquisite paintings are an ode to the past while being filtered through a contemporary life - his point of reference. This makes his emotive figure compositions memorable and potent, his commissioned portraiture powerful and gives his narrative pieces an eerily present feeling. Even when referencing Bouguereau or one of the great compositions of the past, LaRock imbues a shade of the timeless, drawing the viewer deeper into his personal interpretation of how the world ought to be. A striking painting of the artist’s wife, Laura in Black, was exhibited last year at the National Portrait Gallery, London as part of the 2016 BP Portrait Award.