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Ariadne's Love (2011)


SSAATB and string orchestra (with obbligato viola solo)


a capella version: Ariadne's Lament (SSAATB)

string orchestra version: Ariadne's Lament (strings, with obbligato viola solo)

viola concerto: Saving Theseus-Ariadne's Love

Duration: 6'

Ariadne’s Love was a winning work of the Abbey Road Studios Anthem Composition Competition. It was recorded by Eric Whitacre Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eric Whitacre, at Abbey Road Studios in 2011.


The work began life as Ariadne's Lament, a choral piece written for the Chamber Singers of Colleges Bryn Mawr and Haverford in Philadelphia. The US-based Singaporean conductor Ng Tianhui had commissioned for a work on "Ariadne", while the centrepiece of the whole concert was based upon Monteverdi's Lamento di Arianna. Having recently played baroque violin in a production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, the idea of the baroque lament resonated to me. As I was showing the choral work to a violinist friend Jack Lin, he urged me to rework it as a string orchestra piece. Soon enough, Mr Foo writes to me asking for a string orchestra work for re: mix! "Ariadne's Lament" focuses on the solo viola, portraying as the voice of Ariadne and depicts the moment where she awakens on Naxos to realise that Theseus had deserted her.

Ariadne’s Love is a combination of the string and choral versions of Ariadne's Lament. The journey of this work has since then continued through the addition of a first movement, forming a viola concerto Saving Theseus - Ariadne's Love. There are plans to expand this with an additional third movement - Bacchus.

With librettist Dr. Sara Florian, the story of Ariadne was retold through a short children's opera ARIANNA On Another Island. The melodic line from Ariadne's Love was reworked into Arianna's scene. This was presented by The Opera People as a work-in-progress performance through the Esplanade PlayLab programme (March 2022).

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