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Thomas Adès: The Tempest / Bostridge, Royal, Langridge, et al

Album Summary

>Adès, Thomas : The Tempest, opera in 3 acts
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Thomas Ades' 2004 version of The Tempest has been acclaimed as one of the outstanding operas of the new century, so it's a pleasure to have it available in such a fine recording, taken from the 2007 Covent Garden revival, featuring many of the principals from the premiere... The composer conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House in performances of dazzling virtuosity and color. The sound of the live recording is clean, with good definition and balance, and a minimum of extraneous noise. Strongly recommended for any fans of new opera." -All Music Guide

"Thomas Adès's "ism"-defying output gains in variety all the time, but whatever he comes up with in the future it is likely that The Tempest will remain one of his most significant achievements. Premiered at Covent Garden in 2004, and recorded here at the revival two years ago, Adès's second opera succeeds where most Tempest adaptations have failed: in adding something to Shakespeare's magical and inherently lyrical scenario. From the tornado-like prelude to Ariel's stratospheric yet ethereal "Five fathoms deep" the music illuminates rather than merely illustrates the drama. It may not be a flawless masterpiece Meredith Oakes's otherwise musical libretto relies on some clunky rhythms, and Adès could occasionally have tightened his writing, notably in Act 3 but it is one of the most viable and stageworthy of modern British operas. Most of this recording's cast created their roles, and the performances have a lived-in feel.

Yet even the newcomer, Kate Royal as Miranda, is fully inside her part and sings alluringly; admirers of the soprano will be pleased to have her auspicious Covent Garden debut preserved on disc. For many, the most memorable writing in The Tempest comes attached to Ariel's vocal high-wire act. Few coloratura sopranos are able to dispatch it like Cyndia Sieden, whose sound lends special colour to the performance, and it is hardly her fault that her stratospheric flights leave the words almost unintelligible.

Simon Keenlyside, on the young side as Prospero, mixes brain and baritonal brawn in his characteristically charismatic way. Ian Bostridge sings unstintingly as a wonderfully weird Caliban and his Peter Pears-ish voice strengthens the impression of the character as an outsider. His younger tenor colleague, Toby Spence, is a fine Ferdinand. Philip Langridge's King of Naples and Jonathan Summers's Sebastian represent luxury casting in a recording made under the composer's own baton. The playing of the Covent Garden orchestra is another luxury - no, a necessity, given the brilliantly conceived and demanding orchestral aspect of this piece." - Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Contemporary winner

Sunday Times
Out-Brittening Britten's Grimes storm music in the prelude, and the eerily beguiling tintinnabulations of the Magic Banquet music that make the recording so rewarding.

The Guardian
Performances are almost all first rate. It's a measure of the strength of the mostly British casting that singers of the quality of Stephen Richardson and Jonathan Summers take some of the smallest roles. Simon Keenlyside's no-nonsense Prospero, a force to be reckoned with from the very start of the opera, is outstanding, and it's hard to think of another singer who could manage the stratospheric writing for Ariel more effortlessly than Cyndia Sieden. Ian Bostridge's Caliban, Philip Langridge's King of Naples, Kate Royal's Miranda and Toby Spence's Ferdinand are excellent, too. It's a fine production, which does full justice to AdFs's sometimes remarkable work.

The Telegraph
Simon Keenlyside makes an authoritative Prospero, Ian Bostridge's Caliban tugs at the heartstrings in his radiant Act 2 aria and Cyndia Sieden is phenomenal as a stratospherically high coloratura soprano Ariel.

Gramophone Magazine
From the tornado-like prelude to Ariel's stratospheric yet ethereal "Five fathoms deep" the music illuminates rather than merely illustrates the drama. ... Kate Royal as Miranda, is fully inside her part and sings alluringly... For many, the most memorable writing in The Tempest comes attached to Ariel's vocal high-wire act. Few coloratura sopranos are able to dispatch it like Cyndia Sieden, whose sound lends special colour to the performance... Simon Keenlyside, on the young side as Prospero, mixes brain and baritonal brawn in his characteristically charismatic way. Ian Bostridge sings unstintingly as a wonderfully weird Caliban... The playing of the Covent Garden orchestra is another luxury - no, a necessity, given the brilliantly conceived and demanding orchestral aspect of this piece.

BBC Music Magazine
Everyone reaches out to the purple passages when AdFs touches something rich and strange. Those include the evolution of the young lovers' music from homages to midsummer Britten and Tippett to the heights of Act II, Ariel's banquet and masque in Act III, and the ensemble-passacaglia which takes the ultimate centre of gravity from Prospero's perfunctorily written farewells.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
It may not be a flawless masterpiece ... but it is one of the most viable and stageworthy of modern British operas...The playing of the Covent Garden orchestra is another luxury no, a necessity, given the brilliantly conceived and demanding orchestral aspect of this piece.

Penguin Guide
Well constructed and dramatically effective in its clever timing and contrasted textures...The late Philip Langridge in one of his last performances at Covent Garden...makes a memorable King of Naples, while Ades's evocative orchestration with its percussion effects vividly conjures up the atmosphere of the magic island of Prospero...A strong and memorable opera.



Reviews


Submitted on 01/29/10 by KimE 
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Works Details

>Adès, Thomas : The Tempest, opera in 3 acts
  • Performers: Stephen Richardson (Bass Baritone); Graeme Danby (Bass); Cyndia Sieden (Soprano); Jonathan Summers (Baritone); Toby Spence (Tenor); Donald Kaasch (Tenor); David Cordier (Countertenor); Kate Royal (Voice); Philip Langridge (Voice); Ian Bostridge (Tenor); Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Thomas Adès
  • Notes: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, England (03/23/2007/03/26/2007)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Studio/Live: Live