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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Metropolitan Opera Preview: The Tempest

(Reposted from the 2012-13 Metropolitan Opera Preview.)
The Met goes back to the...um..."ensorcelled atoll."
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Simon Keenlyside is Prospero, out for revenge--starting with his tattooist.
Promotional image for The Tempest. Photo by Anne Deniau © 2012 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Met unveils its first ever production of Thomas Ádes' Shakespearean opera, with the composer himself conducting. Simon Keenlyside sings the key role of Prospero, with talented young singers (Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, Audrey Elizabeth Luna) filling out the cast.

The Tempest marks the return of Robert Lepage to the Met. The French-Canadian director may still be smarting over the critical backlash received by his staging of Wagner's Ring. According to the Met website, this staging "recreates the interior of 18th-century La Scala, including the hidden workings underneath the stage, where Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, practices his otherworldly arts."

This is the second new opera at the Met this year to be based on William Shakespeare's final play. The Tempest (with a libretto by Meredith Oakes) is a far more serious take on the story of Prospero, the sorcerer who creates a brave new world on a mysterious, enchanted island. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

The Tempest will have its New York premiere on Oct. 23.
Recordings Recommendation:

As this is a new opera, there's just one recording of it, an EMI release based on the Covent Garden performances in 2009. The cast features Toby Spence, Philip Langridge, and of course, Simon Keenlyside in the title role. To get an idea of what The Tempest sounds like, watch the following clip:

Watch a scene from the Covent Garden production of The Tempest 
with Simon Keenlyside as Prospero.
Footage  © EMI Classics/Royal Opera House of Covent Garden.

Return to the Superconductor 2012-2013 Metropolitan Opera Season Preview.

Contact the author: E-mail Superconductor editor Paul Pelkonen.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.