Welcome to the Golden Age

By Jay Nordlinger [NY Sun, 26 September 2005]

Over the weekend, the Metropolitan Opera presented two great operas, to magnificent effect. On Friday night, it was Verdi’s “Falstaff.” And on Saturday afternoon, it was Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos.” We’ll consider the second performance first.

In recent memory, the Met has had many top singers in “Ariadne”: Jessye Norman and Deborah Voigt as the Prima Donna; Tatiana Troyanos and Susanne Mentzer as the Composer; Kathleen Battle and Natalie Dessay as Zerbinetta. The current cast includes Violeta Urmana (the Prima Donna), Susan Graham (the Composer), and Diana Damrau (Zerbinetta). It’s hard to imagine that this team could ever be outdone.