A Sizzling Account
'The Tempest' by Thomas Adès,
reviewed by MARIA NOCKIN
The thirty-five year old gifted pianist and composer, Thomas Adès, has received enormous critical acclaim for his first two operas. Powder her Face, a chamber work with a libretto by Philip Hensher, was first seen in July of 1995 at Britain's Cheltenham Festival where it was so successful that it was repeated four years later. It is now available on DVD. His second work, The Tempest, was commissioned by the Royal Opera and premièred at Covent Garden in February of 2004. Since then, it has been staged in Strasbourg and Copenhagen.
Rod Gilfry (Prospero) and Patricia Risley (Miranda) in the Santa Fe Opera production of 'The Tempest'. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
US opera goers who knew the history of Adès' operas had high expectations for the Santa Fe Opera production of The Tempest, and on 11 August 2006 most of their hopes were fulfilled. Although Adès' music does not seem melodic on first hearing, he knows how to put an opera together and make it work. Librettist Meredith Oakes carefully pared Shakespeare's play down to singable dimensions, re-working it with pleasant rhymes, an unexpected blessing.
A scene from the Santa Fe Opera production of 'The Tempest' by Thomas Adès. Photo © 2006 Ken Howard
Copyright © 17 September 2006
Maria Nockin, California USA