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Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman, Founding Directors of the Berkshire Opera Festival Talk with Michael Miller about the Centerpiece of their Second Season: Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos

Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman, Co-Direcotrs of The Berkshire Opera Festival
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Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman, Co-Direcotrs of The Berkshire Opera Festival
Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman, Co-Direcotrs of The Berkshire Opera Festival

Two expert and experienced, highly intelligent and sensitive opera-makers, Jonathon Loy, a stage director, and Brian Garman, a conductor, joined forces last year to create The Berkshire Opera Festival, which got off to a brilliant start with a finely considered, detailed, and brilliantly executed production of Madama Butterfly, which was equal to converting Puccini-haters as well as delighting Puccini fanatics.

They carry on this year with their second production, a radically different work written only a few years later by Richard Strauss, Ariadne auf Naxos. Brian and Jonathon very kindly agreed to chat about this year’s offering with me, and I think you will learn a lot about Ariadne and how it looks to the people who put it on the stage for your enjoyment. Opera is in one way entertainment and in another a great deal more, and no other opera brings this home to us more amusingly, delectably, and movingly than Ariadne.

Ariadne auf Naxos in Reharsal at The Berkshire Opera Festival.
Ariadne auf Naxos in Reharsal at The Berkshire Opera Festival.

The bottom line is that you can walk into this opera as a novice and find yourself much entertained—the tunes are addictive—and walk out, elated, but with a pang in your heart for the delights, complications, and agonies of love.

Brian and Jonathon recommend seeing all three performances. This is by no means self-serving or boxoffice-driven. There’s a lot of action and a lot of singing in this rather brief opera. You’ll be surprised at what you discover on a second or third go-around. Perhaps even that you’ve experience something relevant and profound.

I present this as two separate podcasts—one, very brief, about the company and its practical goals…with an opportunity to contribute to a matched donation. It is also INTERESTING. Listen to it! And DONATE! Click here to support this important and life enhancing addition to our life in the Berkshires.

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The second, longer segment concerns the upcoming production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

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Click here for our interview about last year’s inaugural Madama Butterfly

Click here for my review of Madama Butterly.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

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