The next Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge will be "The Tempest," based on Shakespeare's tale of retribution and rapprochement. The opera adaptation is by contemporary composer Thomas Ades, and the libretto - featuring poetry described by the New York Times as "streamlined and refashioned" - is by Meredith Oakes. This broadcast will be held in the Finkel Auditorium Saturday at 10:55 a.m.
The tale is that of the powerful sorcerer Prospero, the exiled former Duke of Milan. Prospero, sung by British baritone Simon Keenlyside, has been living on a remote, deserted island for some 12 years with his daughter Miranda, sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. The opera opens as Miranda is viewing an offshore shipwreck; her father confirms her suspicion that he was magically responsible for the tempest that brought about the fate of the ship, which carried his enemies from the Court of Naples.
The opening stage effects of the storm, under the direction of Robert Lepage, are staggering. Prospero's servant spirit Ariel, sung by coloratura soprano, Audrey Luna, is seen "hoisted on a chandelier and caught in a dizzying spin," writes New York Times reviewer Anthony Tommasini. "A sea-blue fabric covers the stage, and popping through it are drowning victims of the storm and shipwreck." All of this is accentuated by the revolving and interactive lighting effects. As the storm subsides, in the stage's painted backdrop is La Scala's18th-century opera house.
Marooned on the island, the members of the Court of Naples experience a number of events and intrigues involving Prospero, Ariel and Caliban, the wild heir to the island. The second act duet between Miranda and Ferdinand - the long lost son of the King of Naples (sung by Alek Shrader) - is one of the more melodic moments of the opera.
In a recent interview, Keenlyside indicated that instead of singing every opera with the same voice and stage actions, opera singers adjust their vocal tone color, emotional expression and physical reactions to match that of the character they represent. Supported by energetic instrumentation from the orchestra, changing stage sets and innovative costuming, the performers deliver an engaging rendition of "The Tempest" that appeals to all senses.
Following the opera there will be a 30- to 45-minute open discussion for those interested in sharing observations on the performance. The local simulcast is presented in high definition through a partnership between Colorado Mountain College and the National Repertory Orchestra.