Synopsis by Craig Butler
Ariadne auf Naxos begins with a lengthy prologue involving the premiere of an opera based on the story of Ariadne. A conflict develops when the opera's composer discovers that a frivolous comedy has been added to the bill after his new masterpiece. Tensions increase when it is decreed that, because of time restrictions, both pieces are to be performed together so that there will be time for a fireworks display afterward. The cast and creators struggle to quickly come up with a way of making this impossible situation work, and the opera begins in earnest. Ariadne, discarded by her lover Theseus, is on the island of Naxos, awaiting death. A troupe of comedians arrives and tries to entertain her, but her grief is too great. Zerbinetta, leader of the troupe, tries to persuade her that she is foolish to want death in such a manner, and Ariadne leaves her in anger. Zerbinetta and her pals then cavort about, with various ones vying for Zerbinetta's attention, which she eventually gives to Harlekin. Ariadne is then told that a ship is approach; assuming it is Hermes coming to take her to her death, she awaits it. However, it turns out to be Bacchus, a beautiful, young god whom Ariadne at first takes to be Theseus. Bacchus, struck by Ariadne's beauty, tells her who he really is and takes her with him to live in the heavens.
comedian, comedy-troupe, composer, gods, island, opera