Last night, the fireworks were provided by Kathleen Kim as Zerbinetta. This is one of the most difficult soprano parts in the repertory, and she was ideally suited as Strauss' quicksilver coquette. She rose admirably to the dizzying aria "Großmächtige Prinzessin," scaling its merciless, silvery heights and making the giant stage hers. Ms. Kim's Zerbinetta was aided and abetted by a skilled comic cavalcade who combined balletic skill with juggling, fire twirling and even singing as the players struggled to fit their shenanigans into the dramatic frame-work of the main opera.
Swedish soprano Nina Stemme was not to be outdone. After all, Ariadne is the title role, and she sang the part with regal bearing and a full, rounded voice that soared to the heights and plunged easily, into the lower mezzo-like passages at the start of "Er gibt ein Reich." Nina Stemme was well complemented by tenor Lance Ryan, who made his company debut in the role of Bacchus after being sidelined last Thursday night. Bacchus is an ungrateful, difficult part with a series of gut-busting high notes. Ryan coped well with the high tessitura though he was not quite the god-like presence that the role requires.