Barn Opera Announces New Production of Ariadne auf Naxos

By Chris Ruel

Brandon Vermont’s BARN OPERA has announced a new production of R. Strauss’ comedic opera, “Ariadne auf Naxos,” set to be staged on Sept. 16 and 17, 2022, at The BARN OPERA House in Brandon, Vermont. The show marks the return of live performances for the company.

Artistic Director Joshua Collier’s innovative production keeps with the company’s inventive takes on opera masterworks. In that spirit, Collier plays on the perennial tug-of-war between the operatic and the musical theater mediums.

The artists will sing Act one in colloquial English, and the second act will be sung in German, marking the first time BARN has mounted a German opera sung in its original language. Audiences can expect a night of comedy as Collier turns Strauss’s work on its head.

For his dinner party, “The Richest Man in Vermont” rents out the most spectacular venue in all of Vermont: BARN OPERA’S barn. There he plans to entertain his guests with an opera seria he commissioned; yet, his wife deplores opera and would much rather see a Broadway review. The comedy kicks into high gear when competing factions of musicians and entertainers duke it out over which show will be presented first. But “The Richest Man” decides both the opera and Broadway review should run concurrently, on the same stage—and the entertainment must end by 10:00 pm. With only a half hour to prepare, witty barbs, petty insults, and hijinks ensue.

Featured artists include soprano Helen Lyons in the title role of the Diva; mezzo-soprano Brooke Larimer as the Composer; bass Brian McQueen as the Diva and Composer’s mentor, friend, and “music master”; tenor Chad Kranak as Bacchus; soprano Kristin Renee Young sings the high-flying role of Zerbinetta. Sharing the stage is baritone Darrel J. Jordan, Indigenous (Pueblo of Acama) lyric tenor Bo Shimmin as Scaramuccio, tenor Knox Van Horn, sopranos Dana MacIntosh, Bre Valdez, and contralto Allison Gish perform as The Three Ladies of the Opera Chorus.

BARN OPERA’s Music Director, Cailin Marcel Manson, will be on the podium, and Assistant Music Director Felix Jarrar will accompany. Russ McColman is the technical director, and Catharine Jai Orellana is the stage manager.

Audience members must be vaccinated and boosted. Proof of vaccination is required before purchasing tickets.