Hail Castrati, protect us!


When Ariadne and Theseus find themselves stranded on the island by a storm, Bacchus orders Theseus to leave Naxos with Antiope the Amazon queen while Ariadne lies asleep in their tent. After Ariadne has discovered her lover’s departure, Bacchus appears in all his glory on a chariot drawn by tigers, surrounded by Bacchants and Corybants. Ariadne is won over as if by magic, and the opera concludes with her apotheosis. Theseus is presented more sympathetically than in other Naxos-based versions: he loves Ariadne until the end and abandons her only because Bacchus threatens to kill her unless he renounces her. Conversely, Bacchus – also a castrato part – comes out as an unscrupulous schemer. (Vincent Giroud, Oft-told Tales)