All who were lost are found

Thomas Adès’ 2004 opera The Tempest was given at the Metropolitan Opera in 2012 in a new production by Robert Lepage.  It got an HD broadcast and a subsequent DVD release.  It’s an interesting work which, on happening, was compared to Peter Grimes as the “next great English opera”.  Whether this early hype will turn into a sustained place in the repertoire is yet to be seen.  Musically it’s not easy to characterize.  Adès very much has his own style; mixing lyricism with atonality and, in this piece, setting one of the roles, Ariel, so high it’s surprising anyone has been found to sing it.  Certainly it’s a more aggressively modern style than most of the work currently being produced in North America.  The libretto two is unusual.  Shakespeare’s own words were, apparently, considered too difficult to sing though, of course, Britten famously set great screeds of unadulterated bard in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  For the Tempest, Meredith Oakes has rendered the text into couplets; rhymed or half rhymed.  It works quite well with only the occasional touch of Jeremy Sams like banality.

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