Thursday 20 March 2014

The Bourgeois Gentilhomme visits Cardiff

Maria Jeritza as Ariadne in the 1917 version of Ariadne auf Naxos
Maria Jeritza, who played Ariadne in the original
1912 version, here as Ariadne in the 1917 version
of Ariadne auf Naxos
On Saturday 22 March 2014, Richard Strauss's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme gets a rare Welsh outing as he visits Cardiff's Dora Stoutzker Hall (at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) in the company of the Sinfonia Cymru, conductor Gareth Jones and actor Richard Harrington. The work has a slightly complex history. Originally Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannstahl planned a small entertainment which would take a cut down version of Moliere's play (adapted and translated by Hofmannstahl) in which the final entertainment was replaced by an opera Ariadne auf Naxos. It didn't work, the whole was too large and too complex (and needed a company of actors and an opera company). The opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, took on a life of its own and Strauss re-worked the incidental music to work without it, creating music for the dropped Turkish ceremony in the play. He then turned the incidental music into a suite, which is what Sinfonia Cymru will be playing.

For their performance Sinfonia Cymru have turned to the actor Richard Harrington who will be reading extracts from the original Moliere play, to put the music in context. Also in the programme will be Strauss's wonderful Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings.

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