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Adès: The Tempest Live

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Simon Keenlyside, Cyndia Sieden, Ian Bostridge, Kate Royal, Philip Langridge, et al.
  • Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
  • Conductor: Thomas Adès
  • Composer: Thomas Adès
  • Audio CD (15 Jun. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B0026FIR3E
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,927 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Digital Booklet: Thomas Ades: The Tempest
Digital Booklet: Thomas Ades: The Tempest
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a superb recording of a superb piece of 21st century music theatre. The recording was made during the 2007 revival of the piece at Covent Garden with largely the same cast as the premiere under the baton of the composer.

It is said that the prelude was scored days before the premiere in 2004, yet as with other outpourings of genius in the history of music the piece appears seamless and as one with the drama that follows.
There are sections that are mildly contrived: many commentators have remarked that the reconiliation quartet of the last act is strongly based on Beethoven's 'Mir ist so Wunderbar, both in style and form. Likewise the opening exchanges beween Miranda (Christine Rice) and Prospero (Simon Keenlyside) have a similarity to the father/daughter exchanges of Wotan/Brunnhilde.

Nevertheless this is a wonderful Tempest. The music that Ades weaves for
Caliban (Ian Bostridge) and his strange island, is truly mysterious and magical, and the Ariel (Cynthia Sieden), described by one reviewer as a "soprano on helium" is a truly original and entrancing sound which brings something new and original to the world of opera.

The music drama evolves powerfully. Although it is not based upon musical numbers, the action passes through a range of traditional forms which keep the listeners' ears focussed upon recognisable forms.

It could be argued that this piece is much more traditional opera, based upon 19th and 20th century models rather than avant garde, but as Peter Grimes did 50 years before, it levers itself firmly into the mainstram operatic repertoire and will surely be a work that stands the test of time.
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Format: Audio CD
Shakespeare's The Tempest has inspired many composers to write scene music of different kinds, so for example Purcell and Sibelius; Beethoven is said to have been motivated to compose his piano sonata, op.31, nr 2, by this enchanting as well as enchanted play. But no one has really succeeded in making an opera of high class from this romance drama, that has the best prerequisites to be transformed into a dramma di musica, as The Tempest certainly has. Thomas Adès's bold attempt is met with the highest expectations, and there is no doubt that this Shekaspearean opera will show up as one of the greatest and most successful operas of our time.
Adès has had the benefit of a tremendously skilful libretto, written by Meredith Oakes, that changes the blank verse into easily composed and easily sung short lines, often rhymed, and it is the strong cooperation between music and words that constitutes the overwhelming impression of this opera recording and is the basis of its success. Oakes and Adès have not been throughout bound by Shakespeare's plot and text. So, for instance, - and that is perhaps the most sensational change of structure in the whole opera -, does the opera not end with Prospero's farewell to Ariel (read: Shakespeare's farewell to dramatic art), but it is Caliban and Ariel that get the honour to finish the last scene, Caliban singing his almost heartbreaking farewell: "Who was here?/Have they disappeared?/Were there others?/Were we brothers?//They were human seeming/I was dreaming", accompanied by Ariel's call, fading in an etherical vocalizing. Whoever wishes to do so, can undoubtedly make a postcolonial interpretation of this ending, quite corresponding to recent tendencies in literary criticism. Is this a postcolonial opera? is it the first one?
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
If you saw the opera at Covent Garden, this is a great souvenir. Ades' music is very approachable. Performance is knock-out.
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