Ariadne auf Naxos

Strauss' Comedic Charmer

“… engaging, occasionally hilarious and, in its final moments, sublime …”

Star Tribune

“Beautifully sung, played and designed …”

— Pioneer Press

When the wealthiest man in the city double-books a group of buttoned-up opera singers and a band of bawdy comedians as dinner entertainment, the fun begins. Ariadne and her fellow singers have to share their drama (and the stage) with the saucy comedy troupe. This opera-within-an-opera, set on the Greek isle of Naxos, tickles your funny bone one minute and tugs at your heartstrings the next. Richard Strauss’ look at art, fidelity and love is at once divinely comic and achingly tender, enchanting audiences from the beginning to the last note.

Preliminary run time of 2 hours and 36 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.

Sung in German with English translations projected above the stage.

  • Digital Program


  • Cast and Creative Team

    Celebrated rising star Amber Wagner will sing the role of Ariadne. Click below to read more about the performers on the stage and people behind the scenes.

  • Videos


  • Listen

    Listen to Artistic Director Dale Johnson’s recommended recording of Ariadne auf Naxos on Spotify.

  • Behind the Scenes

    Get an exclusive look at the creation of our production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

  • Synopsis

    Preparations are being made for the evening’s entertainment. A nameless rich nobleman has arranged for two performances to entertain his guest – a new opera seria, based on the Greek legend of Ariadne, to be principally sung by the Prima Donna and the Tenor, and an opera buffa to be given by a commedia dell’arte troupe, led by Zerbinetta. The evening will conclude with a brilliant display of fireworks, given promptly at 9:00. Behind the scenes…

  • Director's Notes

    Stage Director Alan E. Hicks gives us a preview of this production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

  • Composer Biography

    Known informally as the “other Richard” or the “other Strauss,” Richard Strauss rose to become the most important composer of German opera in the early 20th century. Living in the shadow of Richard Wagner (the first Richard, after whom there could be no second) and Johann Strauss, Jr. (no relation), Strauss advanced melodic and harmonic theories, while at the same time looking over a sentimental shoulder toward the waltz king’s Viennese dramaturgy and stagecraft.

  • Opera Insights

    Get an overview of the characters and music, historical and cultural context for the opera and hear performances by Minnesota Opera Resident Artists. Enjoy this free, fun and informative half-hour session one hour before your performance.

  • Taste of Opera

    Ariadne auf Naxos on October 1, 2015 at 5:30pm – Call 612-342-9563 to Buy Tickets

    Enhance your opera-going experience with a Taste of Opera – a delicious pre-show dinner and relaxed conversation with experts from the world of opera. Classical Minnesota Public Radio hosts an engaging look at each production with special guests from Minnesota Opera. Leave the logistics to us and enjoy an all-inclusive evening out!

    Taste more...
  • Behind the Curtain

    Ariadne auf Naxos on September 23, 2015 at 7pm

    Get the inside scoop! Behind the Curtain explores the music, history, and production of each opera. Each event will feature talks led by Minnesota Opera’s Head of Music Rob Ainsley and informative discussions with members of the cast and creative team.

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