Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ariadnes at Zilkha Hall

Ars Lyrica's upcoming "Women on the Verge" program this Friday features three different settings of the Ariadne myth, so I thought I'd post a summary of the tale, for those who (like me) need a refresher from time to time about matters ancient and sublime. The painting is Titian's "Bacchus and Ariadne," one of the most famous of the many canvases devoted to this evocative lady. Her story in brief: Having killed the Minotaur in Crete, Ariadne and her lover Theseus flee to Naxos, where they live happily for a while -- that is, until Theseus has to do the "man thing" and get back on his ship and sail away with his army. His departure causes Ariadne much grief, though she eventually weds Dionysus (aka Bacchus in the Roman-influenced painting). Friday's program features three musical settings of this tale, from Monteverdi’s famous Lament, said by a contemporary to have “moved the whole theater to tears,” to a Mont├ęclair cantata and Haydn's well-known dramatic scena.