A “stupendous” debut as Bacchus in ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’

September 30, 2015

In a class of his own was tenor Brian Jagde (Bacchus) who . . . put his jaw-dropping instrument to stirring use; together with Wagner, he made Strauss’s apotheosis unforgettable.”
Larry Fuchsberg – Opera News

“Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” an elusive opera-within-an-opera that attempts to fuse the frivolous and the heroic while making cruel demands on its principal singers, was an intriguing choice to open Minnesota Opera’s 53rd season.

And it turned out to be a wise choice, judging by the engaging, occasionally hilarious and, in its final moments, sublime . . . This is Ariadne’s great duet with Bacchus, a scene that the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham called the finest music that Strauss ever wrote. Many tenors have fallen short singing this difficult music, but not Brian Jagde who sang Bacchus Saturday night with stupendous stamina, tonal heft and affecting lyricism.”
Michael Anthony – Star Tribune

“All the performers came across marvelously well . . . Brian Jagde as the tenor sings with godlike gusto as Ariadne’s would-be lover Bacchus.”

William Fietzer –

“. . . fear not: the singers, especially in the (long) second act, fly. Amber Wagner as Ariadne, Brian Jagde as Bacchus, Hanna Hipp as the Composer serve up world-class performances and if you are an opera lover, they will, I promise, make you happy indeed . . . Jagde also gives us a larger than life Bacchus with his huge voice and bold style. These three roles take true “Olympians,” as the company’s Head of Music, Rob Ainsley, called them in his pre-rehearsal talk to guest observers.”

“. . . the company opened its season at St. Paul’s Ordway Music Theater Saturday with a handsome and musically impressive “Ariadne auf Naxos” . . . all of the elements were in place for another Strauss success — including an excellent cast . . . Brian Jagde also does fine things with Strauss’ music as Bacchus, the hero who rescues her from her island exile . . .”
Rob Hubbard – Pioneer Press