Katie Mitchell directs an opera that is as impertinent as it is irresistible

Many key works in the repertory arose from intensive teamwork between librettist and composer. Such tandems include Mozart-Da Ponte, Verdi-Boito, and Strauss-Von Hofmannsthal. Ariadne auf Naxos was the third of six operas written by the last-named duo, coming after Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier.

The day after the 1911 premiere of Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss and his poet-librettist decided to renew their partnership by adapting Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The original project was extensively revised before the definitive version of Ariadne auf Naxos was premiered in 1916. It was an instant success. Apart from its Mozartian hues, it presents numerous interplaying features: neoclassicism and Italian masked dances, echoes of Wagner's most fiery moments, a lullaby Schubert might have written, and an uninhibited, flexible and expressive idiom that heightens the drama.

The distinguished director Katie Mitchell brings us her own take on Ariadne auf Naxos, a tale about the wealthiest man in Vienna who commissions a young composer to write a serious opera and then invites a troupe from the commedia dell’arte to come along as well. When both are instructed to perform together, the flirtatious Zerbinetta sets about convincing the tragic Ariadne that men are all the same, and indeed interchangeable. By thus juxtaposing fidelity and metamorphosis, the opera honours both Molière and Mozart with a result that is as impertinent as it is irresistible. Life leaves us no choice but to forget and move on.

Pirandello's “theatre within a theatre” is an integral part of Ariadne. The disappointments of love and life are concealed beneath a veneer of humour and a multiplicity of feelings come into play. Eventually the two worlds collide, giving way to resignation: paradise, after all, is unattainable.


Ariadne auf Naxos

Opera comprising a prologue and one act.
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

World premieres: 25/10/1912 at the Kleinen Haus des Hoftheaters, Stuttgart (first version) and 04/10/1916 at the Wiener Hofoper, Vienna (definitive version).
Barcelona premiere:  14/01/1943 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Last Liceu performance: 12/11/2002.
Total number of Liceu performances: 24.

  • Approximate running time 2h 40m
    • Prologue 41m
    • Interval 20m
    • Opera 1h 25m

Artistic profile

Stage director
Katie Mitchell
Eloise Lally
Additional texts
Martin Crimp
Set design
Chloe Lamford
Joseph W. Alford
Costume design
Sarah Blenkinsop
Lighting design
James Farncombe
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Gran Teatre del Liceu, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Finnish National Opera and Ballet and Royal Danish Oper
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Josep Pons
Conductor assistant
Oleguer Aymamí
Musical assistants
Véronique Werklé, Rodrigo de Vera, David-Huy Nguyen-Phung and Jaume Tribó


Major-DomoMaik Solbach
Music masterJosé Antonio López
ComposerSamantha Hankey22th,26th,28th September and 3th October
Paula Murrihy27th,29th September and 2th,4th October
Tenor (Bacchus)Nikolai Schukoff22th,26th,28th September and 3th October
David Pomeroy27th,29th September and 2th,4th October
OfficerJosep Fadó
Dancing masterRoger Padullés
Wig makerJorge Rodríguez Norton
LackeyDavid Lagares
ZerbinettaElena Sancho Pereg22th,26th,28th September and 3th October
Sara Blanch27th,29th September and 2th,4th October
Prima donna (Ariadne)Miina-Liisa Värelä22th,26th,28th September and 3th October
Johanni van Oostrum27th,29th September and 2th,4th October
HarlequinBenjamin Appl
NaiadSonia de Munck
DryadAnaïs Masllorens
EchoNúria Vilà
ScaramuccioVicenç Esteve
TruffaldinoAlex Rosen
BrighellaJuan Noval-Moro

Debut Liceu

Cast Changes

  • Soprano Miina-Liisa Varela joins the cast in the role of Primadonna (Ariadne), replacing Iréne Theorin who has canceled her participation due to an injury.
  • Tenor Brandon Jovanovich cancels his participation in Ariadne auf Naxos due to the impossibility of traveling from the United States, after being in contact with a Covid-19 positive. He is replaced by David Pomeroy.

September 2021

26Sunday17:00Turn T
27Monday19:00Turn D
28Tuesday19:00Turn A
29Wednesday19:00Turn B

October 2021

2Saturday19:00Turn C
3Sunday18:00Turn FAD
4Monday19:00Turn H


Download here the programmes of the Gran Teatre del Liceu operas, concerts and ballets.


La veu del Liceu

Per descobrir més a fons l'òpera de Richard Strauss i d’Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

Information of Interest

Briefing session

The Liceu offers a briefing session in the main hall before the start of each dramatized opera performance. It begins 50 minutes before the show.


Free Catalunya Música live stream on Saturday, October 2 at 7pm (CET). Not available for streaming worldwide, due to copyright or other clearance issues. 

Liceu History

HERE you can download the list with all the performances of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos in the history of the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Easy To Read

HERE you will find soon the plot of the opera in a Easy-to-read format.

Liceu of the Arts

Okuda San-Miguel Installation
Sala Miralls
From September 22 to November 10, 2021.
More info

(© Sergi Panizo)