First of all, I love Thomas Ades and own every recording available. I'm listening to this for the fourth time now and unfortunately I still feel the same, its all just a bit dull.. Don't get me wrong, its a beautifully crafted opera and the performance is very good, I'm just not feeling anything from it. Mr Ades always strives to do something different with every work he writes but this time he seems to have borrowed styles from Wagner to Strauss, Britten and more recently, and I have to say regrettably - Gerald Barry! in an attempt to make the ultimate Tempest as some of the great composers in the past have wanted to do. If only he had kept his more youthfull, inventive approach like in "Powder her Face where he keeps you gripped and surprised from start to finish, with his incredible imagination and ability to stretch an orchestra to its limits. But instead he seems to have matured a bit too early and wrote music that traditionalists and old school critics will love.
The style is in the late romantic mode and the scenes a sang as one long aria without any motifs and with tonal orchestration blending behind the melodic sang words. (and there are alot of words!) The highlights for me are the preludes with the swirling chromatic lines interweaving against each other but these seem to set a scene for something else..
A lot of great works of art take time to effect you, so it may grow on me, but in the meantime I'll stick to Verdi's Macbeth or Falstaff.