Entertainment

The Temptest casts its spell

Richard Johnson

Wednesday, November 14, 2012    

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The 2012-13 season at New York's Metropolitan Opera is as diverse as it is interesting.

The season, which is being broadcast live in high definition to a global audience, opened with Donizetti's comedy L'elisir d'Amore, followed by Verdi's tragedy Otello. Last weekend, audiences were able to experience the drama of Thomas Adés' The Tempest.

It is telling that The Tempest should feature in the schedule of productions considering that New York City, home to 'The Met' is still coming to terms with the passage of its own tempest, Hurricane Sandy. But in the true spirit of showbiz, the show must go on.

The Tempest, Adés adaptation of the Shakespeare original, is a multi-layered story of betrayal, revenge, and love. Prospero (Simon Keenlyside)has been banished to a deserted island, with his daughter Miranda (Isabel Leonard), vowing vengeance to those responsible for his overthrow. He conjures a storm at sea to wreck the vessel carrying those responsible so he can exact his 'pound of flesh'. However, he does not count on Miranda falling for a power stronger than his own — love.

The Tempest, Adés adaptation of the Shakespeare original, is a multi-layered story of betrayal, revenge, and love. Prospero (Simon Keenlyside)has been banished to a deserted island, with his daughter Miranda (Isabel Leonard), vowing vengeance to those responsible for his overthrow. He conjures a storm at sea to wreck the vessel carrying those responsible so he can exact his 'pound of flesh'. However, he does not count on Miranda falling for a power stronger than his own — love.

The Tempest offers great music as Adés doubles as the maestro in the pit, and the libretto by Meredith Oakes is complex, yet simple. The trio of Prospero, Meredith and Prince Ferdinand sing different, complex arias at the same time, but managing to convey a simple idea is an example of the brilliance of the librettist.

It also took some getting accustomed to an opera in English. Subtitles also helped in the comprehension of the story.

Perhaps the star is the flighty and frenetic Ariel — Prospero's spirit. Played beautifully by Audrey Luna, Ariel's 'yes boss' attitude accompanied by those heady above soprano notes and the arial gymnastics, made her a sight to watch and hear.

Keenlyside, who has played Prospero since the opera premiered in 2004, truly embodies the character. His baritone carries the feelings and emotion of a bitter man as well as a father whose daughter has come of age.

This was another enjoyable outing from the Met. Local cinema operators Palace Amusement Company will present encore presentations of The Tempest on Saturday at the Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay, while the Odeon Cineplex in Mandeville and the Palace Cineplex in St Andrew, hosts shows on Sunday.

All presentations start at 11:30 am.

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