Premium operatic entertainment. Ariadne is a funny old thing, postmodern well before its time. One simply has to trust to the intentions of Hofmansthall and Strauss - and, if possible, a cast of the calibre assembled here. Jessye Norman is luxury casting as Ariadne and Kathleen Battle is a classy, hilariously casual Zerbinetta. They do need to be this good though as they have to follow the set piece of Tatiana Troyanos' composer. This late, great lioness of opera transcends the peculiarities of the piece with her oration which isn't lost by being on screen.
Led by a grinning Levine in the pit there's a sense of everyone having a party (to which Barbara Bonney is invited in a minor role for goodness sake). The staging is somewhat stock, the production acting as a vehicle for the singers. But with this cast, it's what you pay to see. The only true disappointment is the washy 80s video recording. 5/10
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