The Tempest, Robert Lepage’s Staging of the English-language Opera Based on Shakespeare’s Final Play, Airs on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, March 17 at 12 noon on PBS
Thomas Adès Conducts the Met Premiere of His Contemporary Masterpiece with Simon Keenlyside as Prospero, the role he created in the opera’s world premiere
British composer Thomas Adès conducts the Met premiere of his contemporary masterpiece The Tempest, an English-language opera based on Shakespeare’s final play. The Met’s fantastical new production by Robert Lepage airs on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, March 17 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings).
In New York, THIRTEEN will premiere the opera on Thursday, March 21 at 9 p.m., with an encore showing Sunday, March 24 at 12:30 p.m.
Simon Keenlyside leads the cast as the exiled magician Prospero, a role he created at the opera’s 2004 world premiere. The opera also stars Isabel Leonard as Prospero’s daughter, Miranda; Alek Shrader as the shipwrecked prince, Ferdinand; Alan Oke as the monstrous island native Caliban; and Audrey Luna in the stratospheric coloratura role of the air spirit Ariel.
Heidi Waleson of the Wall Street Journal raved, “This is the Met at its adventurous best.” And Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times called the production “One of the most inspired, audacious and personal operas to have come along in years…a superb cast, headed by the charismatic baritone Simon Keenlyside…Adès drew a textured, glittering and suspenseful account of his opera from the great Met orchestra.”
In Lepage’s production, Prospero, a 19th-century impresario and the exiled Duke of Milan, has recreated the La Scala opera house on his island as a magical box for his sorcery. The design team comprises four distinguished artists in their Met debuts: set designer Jasmine Catudal, costume designer Kym Barrett, lighting designer Michel Beaulieu, and video image artist David Leclerc.
Thomas Adès is one of the leading composers in the world of contemporary classical music. The English artist’s works are regularly performed at the world’s leading opera houses, festivals, and symphonies. His first opera, Powder Her Face, has been staged all over the world and recorded for CD and DVD. Adès conducted the world premiere of The Tempest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2004. Multiple productions in Europe and North America, including the 2006 American premiere at the Santa Fe Opera, have been met with overwhelming critical acclaim. Adès’s music has earned widespread recognition and numerous awards, including the prestigious Grawemeyer Award—of which he is the youngest-ever recipient. The Tempest is the first Adès opera to be staged at the Met, and the composer makes his Met debut as conductor of the work.
Robert Lepage has directed two previous productions at the Met, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust in 2008 and, across the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, a new production of Wagner’s four-part epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, both seen on Great Performances at the Met. His staging of The Tempest, a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, L’Opéra de Quebec, and the Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna, premiered at the Quebec Opera Festival in July 2012. The multi-disciplinary artist has directed numerous acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s Tempest, in both French and English.
Meredith Oakes’s plays include The Neighbour, The Editing Process, Faith, Scenes from the Back of Beyond, Mind the Gap, Man for Hire, and Shadowmouth. Her works have been produced in numerous high-profile venues, including London’s Royal National Theater and Royal Court Theatre.
Simon Keenlyside sang the role of Prospero in the 2004 world premiere of The Tempest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Audrey Luna sang Ariel in the Quebec Opera Festival premiere of Lepage’s staging of The Tempest. Toby Spence sang the role of Ferdinand in The Tempest’s world premiere and now sings Antonio.
Soprano Deborah Voigt will host the broadcast. The Tempest was originally seen live in movie theaters on November 10 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1900 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 64 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.
Major funding for the telecast is provided by M. Beverly and Robert G. Bartner. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met’s 2012-13 season features seven new productions, including Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Maurizio Benini; the Met premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by the composer; Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, directed by David Alden and conducted by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi; the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Benini; Verdi’s Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer in his Met debut and conducted by Michele Mariotti; Wagner’s Parsifal, directed by François Girard in his Met debut and conducted by Daniele Gatti; and Handel’s Giulio Cesare, also directed by David McVicar and conducted by Harry Bicket.
Building on its 81-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its seventh season in 2012-13. Met Player, a subscription service makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.
The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.