Thomas Adès: The Tempest - Downloads available June 30th
Kate Royal, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Toby Spence, Philip Langridge with the Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Two-CD set and digital downloads available June 30 from EMI Classics
“A masterpiece of airy beauty and eerie power.”– Alex Ross, New Yorker
Following the success of his opera Powder Her Face, cutting-edge British composer Thomas Adès composed his second work for the stage, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This ambitious, striking work, featuring a libretto by Meredith Oakes, was premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2004 and in summer 2006 received its U.S. premiere at the Santa Fe Opera.
Much has been made of the opera’s stunning musical range. From the grindingly dissonant parts of Act I to the sublimely lyrical love duet and quintet passacaglia in Act III, the score surges with outpourings of emotion and harmonic clashes of tone and color. It is a towering achievement from a young composer who has proven himself to be full of innovation and expressive talent. According to New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini, Adès’s Tempest is the “music of a young master.”
The new recording is from a 2007 revival at the Royal Opera House, with Adès himself conducting an all-star cast including Kate Royal, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, and Toby Spence. Reviewing the live performance, Rupert Christiansen of London ’s Daily Telegraph wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a better case for the piece than the one made by this performance. Authoritatively conducted by the composer…, it was blessed with a magnificent cast.”
“In the three years since its premiere, Thomas Adès and Meredith Oakes’s haunting re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest has marinated in the mind. It now has the bearing of a modern classic. With a second, or in my case, third visit, you really start to appreciate the ingenious way in which Oakes alludes to Shakespeare without necessarily quoting him. Then there is Adès’s instinctive feeling for the pulse of the drama, his unerring sense of the magic that may provide the key to ‘a brave new world’ where the sins of the parents might not be revisited on the children.” - Edward Seckerson, Independent