FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG
It is not possible to portray love betrayal in a more drastic and gripping way than in Jim Lucassen’s production of Benedetto Marcello’s ARIANNA.
At the Salzburger Landestheater this modern tragedy constitutes the naked frame for a vocal psychological drama of great intensity.
In the middle of this love tangle, Hubert Wild gives a brilliantly humourous performance: straight forward alcohol-fuelled singing that has you dying of laughter.
The sad ending of this exciting dive into this hidden treasure of opera history, would definitely have pleased the melancholy purist Benedetto Marcello: Arianna dies - so that her love lives.
A big success for the Salzburger Landestheater.
In this environment however the Dutch director manages an uncommonly successful ‘Personenregie’
SALZBURGER NACHRICHTENKarl Harb
Stage-wise a resounding success.
Jim Lucassen’s stage direction is deprived of the baroque entanglements that risk seeming stiff. Lucassen brings the mythical story: Ariadne abandoned by her lover Theseus, his turn to Ariadne's sister Phaedra and the courting of the god Bacchus for the one left behind, to the present time in a loose and unforced way.
It is all about disappointed, betrayed love, jealousy and loss, revenge and forgiveness: primal feelings that are clearly transmitted into a stringent and fully comprehensible story, through the highly present acting of the five protagonists and their vocal and theatrically imaginative power.
The greatest merit of the production is its subtle musicality. It leaves room for wonderful moments of intimacy (Ariadne's lamento is sculpted in such a moving and human way, as if the opera directors best known for their insight in human nature, Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, were involved), but also for burlesque irony and overt comedy. An especially good example of this is the individually directed and guided chorus, expressively singing, starring their own soloists. Their precise yet disciplined enthusiasm contributed much to the overall impact of the evening.
Jewel of the repertoire.
This through and through and yet irresistibly contemporary baroque opera evening features three hours of the finest that this first season has to offer with the new directorship. Efforts should be made to obtain tickets; there are only shows until the end of April!
SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN ONLINE
The third star shines particularly strong: Director Jim Lucassen tells, despite flowery baroque poetics, a compelling, clear, timeless story. It is a love and envy story taken from everyday life that focuses, seemingly effortlessly, on each of the clearly charactarised protoganists, all treated as wonderfully poetic and dream-like, but also comic-burlesque elements directly derived from the music.
The excellent, studied chorus has never appeared more joyful and energetic. At the Salzburg State Theatre one can now see the best, by far, most closed, poignant production of the first season under the new directorship. This is the level that should count.
If baroque opera is implemented in such a way as "Arianna" at the Salzburg State Theater, then even a dug up corpse from a library archive, such as this one, can become a thrilling opera experience.
To take this material seriously is not easy. The team of the Salzburg State Theatre however did the only right thing. In modern, clear and sober aesthetics and especially with smart and witty directing, stage director Jim Lucassen and designer Ben Baur transformed this static baroque piece into lively musical theater. None of the extremely debilitating long arias were simply sung. The singers did cart wheels, tried to beat each other in boxing games, hugged empty clothes or fired guns - but not as a gimmick. Lucassen and Baur were very focused on clarifying the individual motives of each character. The singers delivered theatre that followed a parallel story line. This especially made "Arianna" into truly comprehensible musical theatre from the 21st century. Unanimous and a more-than-justified jubilation for the production team.
DREHPUNKT KULTURReinhard Kriechbaum
Jim Lucassen works in the way of pantomime, sometimes letting scenes run in slow motion. A boxing match between Ariadne and Theseus (with Bacchus as a coach for the lady), with bright red boxing gloves - those original "dream sequences" have a tremendous effect and are very much in accordance with the sometimes bizarre musical language of Benedetto Marcello. But at the same time Jim Lucassen focuses on small gestures. He also manages to express psychological developments in very precise and subtle facial expressions and movement. A timeless tale of lost love - and what the director came up with for the obligatory "Lieto fine" one can not divulge, of course.
The opera "Arianna": A sensation.
The production by Jim Lucassen, the set design by Ben Baur? Great. The ship scene, the shadow images, brilliant! A turning wooden wall with double doors, a few chairs. Does it need more? No!