The 35th Canary Islands International Music Festival (FIMC) opens with the opera genre, an opera in concert, and will do so this Thursday, January 10, at the Tenerife Adán Martín Auditorium, from 8:00 p.m., a concert that will be repeated on Saturday, January 12, at the same time, in the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The piece chosen for the opening is none other than the opera Ariadne auf Naxos, of Richard Strauss, in charge of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of its titular director, Antonio Méndez, and a cast of voices where sopranos appear in the main roles Ricarda Merbeth Y Brenda Rae, together with the tenors Roberto Saccá and the canaries Juan Antonio Sanabria, Anelio Gibran, Elisandra Melián Y Manuel Gómez Ruiz, among others.
The inaugural concert was presented on Wednesday in the Tenerife capital in an informative event that counted with the intervention of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Government, Isaac Castellano; the insular director of Culture of the Tenerife City Council, José Luis Rivero; the director of the contest, Jorge Perdigón; the titular director of the Symphony, Antonio Méndez; and the head of Fundación Cepsa in the Canary Islands, Belén Machado, that collaborates in the concert and in the introductory talks programmed in the festival.
In a press conference, the director of the Festival, Jorge Perdigón, explained that it is an opera that had never been performed before in Tenerife and has indicated that they will have three of the "great singers" of the world in terms of Straussian and Wagnerian repertoire. Perdigón has praised the talent of the sopranos Ricarda Merberth and Brenda Rae and tenor Roberto Saccà and highlighted that there will be four Canarian interpreters of international career in the cast but who have not yet had the "opportunity to present themselves to their countrymen".
For the director of the Festival, Ariadna auf Naxos is one of the "most beautiful" operas of the German repertoire and in his opinion the public will say that "I did not know that something so beautiful existed" because it is a "very surprising" work with a music that may be "unexpected" for a part of the public.
He added that the Tenerife Symphony Orchestrawhose artistic director is Antonio Méndez, is at an "extraordinary" level and starting the Festival with a concert in charge of it is "the best way". Méndez, also present at the press conference, has coincided with Perdigón in pointing out the "great height" of the "spectacular and world-class" cast, adding that he has worked with the Orchestra "in great detail, very thoughtfully and thinking in the long term. "
On Ariadna, has highlighted the difficulty of interpreting an opera made without pause, of an hour and a half of music in which the orchestra plays a very important role. This work, Méndez said, is a work like Strauss "I had never done before", a special case that has a prologue in which we talk about the preparations of the opera itself and a piece that combines "very well" "the serious with the comic, one of the" biggest "challenges that they have faced.
Considered one of the most beautiful operas of the German repertoire, the concert offers an evening to immerse yourself in the world that Strauss created, a satire of high society, an approach to the Renaissance figure of patronage and also to opera itself, to the break of the radically contrary social hierarchies, when the quirky characters of the comedy of art are mixed with the famous and dazzling stars of the opera. Why Ariadne auf Naxos it becomes that, an opera within the opera, a unique case with an impressive music.
It is an own production of the festival organized by the Government of the Canary Islands and that counts for this concert with the collaboration of Fundación Cepsa, an entity that also contributes with the introductory talks scheduled, by the musician and disseminator Ricardo Ducantenzeiler. The public interested in knowing previously more details about this production can attend this talk one hour before the concert (7:00 pm) in the same auditoriums.
The Tenerife Symphony, always faithful to its commitment to the Festival, has the responsibility to inaugurate the edition. For the first time Antonio Méndez he will be in charge of his new ownership within the framework of the Festival, and a spectacular cast of ten singers. Ariadne and Zerbinetta will be interpreted by Ricarda Merbeth and Brenda Rae; Bacchus will be Roberto Saccá; the tenor Juan Antonio Sanabria will be Brighella; the baritone Anelio Gibran will have the role of Harlekin; the tenor Manuel Gómez Ruiz will get into the skin of Scaramuccio; the bass José Coca will be Truffaldino; and the three nymphs, Dría, Náyade and Eco will be Mª Luisa Corbacho (mezzo), Elisandra Melián (soprano) and Svetla Krasteva (soprano).
Ariadne auf Naxos, sheet music Strauss with a booklet Hugo von Hofmannsthal, was written in principle with a single act, preceded by the representation of the work of Molière Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The bourgeois gentleman), for which Strauss wrote incidental music, a musical entertainment. This was how it was premiered in the German city of Stuttgart, in 1912, and was also performed in other cities.
Ariadna feels abandoned in Naxos by Theseus, after having helped him out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur in Crete. Some nymphs watch her as she sleeps and bemoan her fate. Ariadna, realizing the abandonment, evokes Theseus and wishes her death. The comedians, meanwhile, try unsuccessfully to entertain her so that she does not think about such shady matters, but she gets angry and leaves. Suddenly, the nymphs announce the arrival of a ship that brings the god Bacchus, who has managed to escape from Circe. Ariadna confuses him with death and prepares to let himself be carried away by such a fatal fate. Then, think that it is Theseus, who has returned for it, until Bacchus shows his divinity and takes it with him to the heavens.
The truth is that the public was confused with this game of enigmas in which the comedy of art was mixed with the classic myth of Ariadne, banished by Theseus to the island of Naxos, where she laments her unhappy destiny. And this reaction ended up convincing the writer, who in this way decided to give shape to a prologue that explained all the game that was later proposed. Strauss did it reluctantly and also maintained long discussions with Hofmannsthal, but finally both decided to add that prologue and definitively discarded the work of Molière. This new version of Ariadne was premiered in the Austrian capital, Vienna, in 1916, with immense success and this is how it has been represented to this day.
The two Viennese creators delve into the definition of loneliness in female characters and also in destiny, something on which they had already sat Mozart Y Lorenzo da Ponte, another legendary and crucial couple in the history of opera as a musician and librettist, in titles such as The weddings of Figaro Y Così fan tutte.
The stage director Christof Loy, who made this montage for the Covent Garden, from London, points out in relation to the prologue that "there is something philosophical about art, about how it should be done and under what circumstances, what influences artists use for what things, but the only act that follows Prologue has to be something else, it talks about how we grow, about how our feelings and our vision of the world change and do not count on the sarcastic resources they use in the prologue. "
Perhaps one of the secrets of the success of this opera rests in the musical treatment, so subtle, so modern and at the same time so anchored in classicism. "The structure is completely classical, but it is an opera for virtuosos, for musicians to enjoy in the pit," said the sadly deceased Spanish conductor. Jesús López Cobos. In his opinion, Strauss broke with that Wagnerian obsession for the enormous orchestra, which he also shared for works like Electra, the woman without shadow and others of their titles. "He made virtuoso chamber music, it's a wonderful balance between 37 musicians and 17 singers," said the music director.
Another of the successes was to give the role of the composer -a male role- to a woman, an idea of the musician who incorporated the prologue of the work. "Strauss believed that the authentic sensitive dimension of the effort of creation was given by women more than men and by women, by mezzosopranoss, capable of expressing mockery, power and tragedy much better than tenors. example, "says Loy.
The experiment carried out by that fascinating and fruitful duo of creators who formed Richard Strauss Y Hugo von Hofmannsthal proposes a fascinating revision of classicism in this opera. What is outstanding about Ariadne auf Naxos it is a surprising freshness, alien to the times, that game proposed by the duo of creators, musician and writer, to eternalize even more the classicism and vindicate the footprints of Haydn and Mozart as parents of all modernity.
In this way, between comedy and simplicity, they get to delve into what most interested them: the definition of the human race through music and poetry. Precisely in a world that came from the nineteenth century with high and utopian expectations, the emancipation of women, of humanity, of workers, a society of abundance and progress, but that succumbed to the Great War.
This will start an ambitious program composed of 44 concerts distributed in twenty scenarios in the eight Canary Islands from January 10 to February 10. The program includes large symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, which will perform repertoires ranging from the fifteenth century to the present, with two commissioned works of the Festival.
This edition of FIMC will also have as protagonists the pianist María Joao Pires, Philharmonic of Gran Canaria, with the production of the festival of Requiem of Verdi; the Hamburg Philharmonic directed by Kent Nagano and the violinist Veronika Eberle; the St. Petersburg Philharmonic directed by Temirkanov, with the pianist George Li; the German Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of Bremen, with the address of David Afkham, the Cadaqués Orchestra, with the director Anu Tali and the pianist Joaquín Achúcarro; Quiroga Quartet; the pianist Martha Argerich; London Conchord Ensemble; Baroque Orchestra of Tenerife; the Minsk Chamber Philharmonic, Quantum Ensemble Y Jordi Savall with the Orquesta Hespérion XXI with the closing concert The Routes of Slavery, 1444-1888.