Richard Strauss was married to a soprano and wrote especially well for the female voice — Four Last Songs may be the pinnacle — and his opera Ariadne auf Naxos has three great roles for women of different voice types. In the St. Petersburg Opera production, which opens Friday, Hein Jung is the agile coloratura soprano who plays Zerbinetta, the cute coquette in a commedia dell'arte troupe with a showstopping 11-minute aria. Elizabeth Beers Kataria is the dramatic soprano in the title role. And mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski sings an aria to music as a sacred art in the pants role of the Composer. Artistic director and conductor Mark Sforzini leads the 36-piece orchestra in Strauss' delectable score.
Ariadne auf Naxos is a madcap affair — a forerunner of the Marx Brothers' demolition of Il Trovatore in A Night at the Opera — that Sforzini and the company were urged to stage by a pair of supporters, Harvey Tavel and Norman R. Glick. The couple sponsored the production in memory of Tavel's brother, Ronald Tavel, an avant-garde writer associated with Andy Warhol and the Theatre of the Ridiculous.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg. $21.50-$64.50. (727) 823-2040; stpeteopera.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic