In an event not to be missed, CitiOpera brings together some of the finest voices in Melbourne to perform Strauss’ magnificent “Ariadne auf Naxos”. Featuring international stars Wendy Grose (Covent Garden), Kristen Leich (Deutsche Oper am Rhein) and Henry Choo (Opera Australia), Richard Strauss’ music comes to life in this witty and charming comedy of "an opera within an opera”.


Directed by Stella Axarlis, the opera will reflect the rich tradition of operatic beauty and grace on stage. Axarlis, who has made the transition from world-renowned singer to passionate director, has led a number of acclaimed productions, including CitiOpera’s Otello (2014) and Cavalleria Rusticana (2015).


Raising the baton for this production is Melbourne’s own David Kram. Kram’s extensive conducting career has seen him working with opera companies around the world including, Opera Australia, Spoleto Festival (Italy), Grand Theatre de Genève, Basel Stadttheater (Switzerland), Nationaltheater Mannheim, (Germany), International Opera Productions in New York.


Sung in German with English surtitles.


Saturday 2nd April at 7.30 pm @ Hawthorn Arts Centre

Thursday 7th April at 7.30 pm @ Hawthorn Arts Centre

Sunday 10th April at 4.00 pm  @ Hawthorn Arts Centre


Hawthorn Arts Centre

360 Burwood Road

Hawthorn, VIC 3122

(03) 9278 4770


Tickets available online via or at the door ($69 Full/$65 Concession/Student $55) This includes a glass of sparkling wine or non-alcoholic beverage upon arrival.

Dinner Packages available.

Group discounts available.


Sponsored by Henkell Brothers Investment Managers Australia PTY LTD and the Robert Salzer Foundation.



Ariadne auf Naxos Synopsis


The servants of the richest man in Vienna are busy preparing the stage for a performance in their master’s palace. Behind the scenes the two troupes hired for the occasion are making their preparations: the one troupe is to present its rendition of the first work by a young composer, the opera Ariadne auf Naxos, the other a dance masquerade in Italian buffo style. The mutual jealousy between the members of the two troupes causes emotions to run high, much more so the unexpected and incomprehensible programme. The Majordomo announces that the two performances will not take place consecutively, but are to be presented simultaneously to the invited guests.


Deeply distressed, the Composer, who is concerned about the accurate realisation of his artistic vision, wants to withdraw his creation and abandon the first public performance. The pragmatic Musicmaster, however, reminds the Composer of the fee on which he can survive for the next six months. He is abetted by Zerbinetta, who is adept in all the skills of seduction and, in no time, has the inexperienced young composer in her sway, persuading him to change his mind. With an emphatic hymn to music, the Composer bows to reality and the instructions of his patron. The opera Ariadne auf Naxos is accordingly performed in the desired manner, with interludes by the comedic troupe.