Ariadne—played by the prima donna—mourns the loss of her lover Theseus on the island of Naxos believing that death will be her only comfort. Zerbinetta and her troupe of players observe from the wings and attempt to invade the performance to lift Ariadne’s spirits and then claim the stage for their own performance. With each attempt, Ariadne becomes further entranced by her wish for death, singing that Hermes will take her to the Realm of Death where she will be free from the burdens and sorrows of this world. Finally taking command of the action, Zerbinetta and her troupe of players tell her that the only way to get over love lost is to simply find a new love. Despite Zerbinetta’s great coloratura flair, Ariadne is offended by the advice and leaves the stage to the triumphant Commedia players.
Reclaiming the stage for the Opera, the Nymphs Naiad, Dryad, and Echo announce that a ship is approaching the island. Ariadne believes that Hermes has come to deliver her, but in truth it is the god Bacchus who has escaped the clutches of the seductive sorceress, Circe. At first Ariadne mistakes him for Theseus and then again for Hermes. Bacchus reveals himself as a god and the two fall immediately in love. The God of Wine crowns her as his consort saying he would rather see the stars fall from the sky than lose her love and offers her a place with him forever in the constellations. During this performance where all the players seem truly touched by the gods, the Commedia actors and the Opera singers are moved to collaborate and share the stage. Sensing the common theme from the very beginning, Zerbinetta proclaims her philosophy on love was correct all along.
Performed in German with English supertitles.
Part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Karen Wadman and Michael and Beth Kasser.