Critic’s Choice

By David Fleshler

Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss

Despite the towering importance of German opera in the history of music, that country’s operatic works are rarely performed in South Florida.

Palm Beach Opera takes a step toward remedying that this weekend with its first production ever of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, an opera-within-an-opera set in the home of the richest man in Vienna.

After a first third or so that’s as talky as any work in the repertoire, the opera contains sublime music, particularly for female voices. Handling the role of Ariadne will be Wendy Bryn Harmer (Friday and Sunday) and Amber Wagner (Saturday). Harmer has received stellar reviews for performances as Gutrune and Freia in Wagner’s Ring at the Metropolitan Opera. Wagner received similar praise for starring roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Lohengrin, as well as Ariadne auf Naxos.

Brian Jagde and Jeffrey Hartman split the role of Bacchus,┬áIrene Roberts is the Composer and Kathleen Kim and Bridgette Gan alternate as Zerbinetta. Palm Beach Opera’s excellent orchestra should shine in Strauss’s spare but richly colored orchestral writing under the conducting of Andreas Delfs.

Palm Beach Opera’s presents Ariadne auf Naxos 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. pbopera.org; 561-833-7888.

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Tue Mar 15, 2016
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