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Performances of Wolfgang Rihm's Aria/Ariadne in Zürich and Der Maler träumt in Germany

Dec. 22, 2022

Gianandrea Noseda led the Philharmonia Zürich and soprano Mojca Erdmann in a performance of Wolfgang Rihm'sAria/Ariadne at the Opernhaus Zürich on December 18 and 22. While Rihm was composing Aria/Ariadne, he was already thinking of writing an opera on the Dionysus theme (which he eventually did in 2009/2010). Aria/Ariadne is one of his many confrontations with Nietzsche; it is a setting of Ariadne’s Lament from the Dionysus Dithyrambs. 

Additionally, on December 18-19, Marc Niemann led the Staatsorchester Braunschweig in performances of Rihm's Der Maler träumt. Rihm's Der Maler träumt (The Painter Dreaming) was inspired by a paper called About My Painting given in 1938 at the New Burlington Gallery in London by the German painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950), in which he formulated focal standpoints of his understanding of art. The composer notes:

“Basically, enough has been said about art – and ultimately, all of it is inadequate if one is supposed to interpret one’s deeds in words,” he said. For Beckmann, words are “too flawed for truly defining artistic problems. What I envision and what I want to realise – perhaps I can achieve it better in the form of a kind of drunken vision.

This associative, wildly poetic, very personal talk, rich in metaphor, thus ends with a predominating “lyrical ego,” “as if a person emerged from his triptych Versuchung (“Temptation”) and spoke to him – as if the text took on a delirious quality.” 

Listen to Wolfgang Rihm's Frage (1999-2000):

Emily Thorner and Sound Icon, led by Jeffrey Means, perform Wolfgang Rihm's Frage

Wolfgang Rihm
Aria/Ariadne (2001)
for soprano
and small orchestra
on the text of Friedrich Nietzsche

Der Maler träumt (2008-2009)
Ein Traum-Gesicht von Max Beckmann
for baritone and ensemble