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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The Tempest at the Met, Live in HD

    The Tempest, opera in three acts; music by Thomas Adès, sung in English; premiered at Covent Garden on 2-10-2004
    Libretto by Meredith Oakes, based on Shakespeare
    Conductor - Thomas Adès (b. 3-1-1971)
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus

    A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, L'Opéra de Québec, and Wiener Staatsoper, in collaboration with Ex Machina

    Stage Director - Robert Lepage
    Set Designer - Jasmine Catudal
    Costume Designer - Kim Barrett
    Lighting - Michael Beaulieu
    Video - David Leclerc
    Choreographer - Crystal Pite

    Prospero - Simon Keenlyside
    Ariel - Audrey Luna
    Miranda - Isabel Leonard
    Trinculo - Iestes Davis
    Ferdinand - Alek Shrader
    Caliban - Alan Oke
    King of Naples - Alan Burden
    Gonzalo - John Del Carlo
    Antonio - Toby Spence

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

    The Met does it again. Following the phenomenal success of the pastiche The Enchanted Island with a similar theme, Adès' outstanding contemporary opera The Tempest gets an equally imaginative, rich, and successful staging. These are the kinds of productions that show the evolution of this opera house, which is nowadays far from the stuffy old Aida productions of the Zeffirelli persuasion. While the Met is not yet avant-garde like some of its German counterparts, it definitely is not moldy any longer. Controversial as Mr. Peter Gelb's tenure has been, I confess that I'm pleased with the way this opera company is going.

    Of The Tempest, it has been said that unlike many contemporary pieces, this ones reads, looks, and sounds like an opera. While I do love even the pieces that do not, I see the point. Yes, the score is appropriately modern with its dissonant elements, but is also very melodic and beautiful. It's not a coincidence that Mr. Adès' opera is now in its eight production - a success rarely achieved by contemporary operas. Why does it endure? Simply because it is of very high quality. In matters of dramatic impact, interesting characters, pace, theatricality, quality of the libretto, score, and vocal writing, this is a very fine opera.

    The staging by Mr. Lepage this time is highly effective, back to the clever solutions of La Damnation de Faust, and away from the disastrous "machine" of the ill-fated (in my opinion) Ring. Seeing this Tempest reminded me of why I like Mr. Lepage's work. Certainly, staging the opera using as scenery a reproduction of the Teatro Alla Scala is a bit hard to justify in terms of what it adds (or fails to add) to the piece - but visually, it works. The blocking is good, the sets are beautiful, and there are plenty of moments of striking imagery and compelling props, costumes, and choreography.

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

    Orchestral playing and conducting (by the composer himself) yielded fabulous results. Singing benefited from a highly homogeneous and gifted cast, with absolutely no weak links. Particularly successful was Ms. Audrey Luna, who navigated with ease the radically high tessitura of her role. She appropriately drew the loudest applause during curtain calls.

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

    Mr. Keenlyside showed less acting range than his usual. Prospero is a conflicted character that shows some mood variation, and I thought that Mr. Keenlyside's portray was a bit unidimensional. His voice was also less lustrous than in other roles I've heard him sing: some aging? Or just because Adès vocal score is so difficult?

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

    Isabel Leonard looked positively charming and while she didn't bring down the house like Audrey Luna did, she held her own.

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera

    Alek Shraker in his Met debut (after having won the National Council Auditions) seemed understandably a bit nervous, but did well. All comprimario roles were competent, with special mention of Alan Burden who sang his part beautifully, and accomplished veteran John Del Carlo. Alan Oke was a very good Calibran both in acting and in siging - it is however regretful that his very last note, when he says his own name out loud at the end of the opera, suffered with a thin top that sounded almost like a falsetto. The haunting beauty of Ms. Luna's offstage voice saved the moment.

    Overall, a highly recommended, A+ production.

    Some strange moments of the evening came from host Deborah Voigt, who seemed somewhat unprepared - maybe she was pulled in at the last moment? She called the second act, first; she implied that Alek Shrader created the role of Ferdinand and the singer had to correct her and point out that Toby Spence rather did; she called Isabel Leonard a soprano (but then corrected to mezzo), and complimented Audrey Luna on doing her own stunts, and got again corrected by the singer who credited the acrobat who was functioning as her body double.

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    © Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 29th, 2012 at 06:32 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    I loved it as well, and I actually thought Alan Oke delivered one of the strongest performance of the night. It's been a while since I saw it, but wasn't Caliban's final note in super pianissimo or something?

    The part of Ariel was a rather pleasant surprise as it's exceedingly annoying on record, without the visual aid, so to speak. It occurred to me after I saw it that I really want to hear her do the 1912 Grossmächtige Prinzessin.

    Also, I think the main thing about Keenleyside is that the part is so INCREDIBLY high and insanely difficult. It's really verging on tenor-land.

    And Alek Shrader and Isabel Leonard make a rather fetching couple. He looks like a real-life Disney prince.

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    The Tempest at the Met
    I hope damages are not very serious.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    I loved it as well, and I actually thought Alan Oke delivered one of the strongest performance of the night. It's been a while since I saw it, but wasn't Caliban's final note in super pianissimo or something?

    The part of Ariel was a rather pleasant surprise as it's exceedingly annoying on record, without the visual aid, so to speak. It occurred to me after I saw it that I really want to hear her do the 1912 Grossmächtige Prinzessin.

    Also, I think the main thing about Keenleyside is that the part is so INCREDIBLY high and insanely difficult. It's really verging on tenor-land.

    And Alek Shrader and Isabel Leonard make a rather fetching couple. He looks like a real-life Disney prince.
    Yes, I did like Alan Oke a lot, it was just that last word... we'd have to look at the score and see how it's written. Maybe it's what the composer wanted in which case my objection drops.

    Yes, it's probably why Keenlyside looked to be in some trouble.

    Yes, Alek Shrader does have that wholesome look.

    Anyway, it was a great production with great artists who delivered great singing. I was nitpicking, really, but still scored it an A+.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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