New Productions

Thomas Adès

Opera in three acts
Libretto by Meredith Oakes after the play of the same name, The Tempest (1610/1611) by William Shakespeare
World premiere February 10th 2004 Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London

Sung in english with german surtitles
Duration: c. 2 1/2 hours incl. one interval after c. 75 minutes

About the Piece

After Ernest Bloch's Macbeth and Aribert Reimann's Lear Keith Warner, one of the great Shakespeare interpreters of ...
After Ernest Bloch's Macbeth and Aribert Reimann's Lear Keith Warner, one of the great Shakespeare interpreters of our time, will direct yet another opera based on a work by the Elizabethan playwrite. The Tempest - food for musical interpretation for Purcell, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky and Berio - comes from Shakespeare's final creative period. The story takes place on an island in the ocean which its bizarre inhabitants - including the mis-shapened witch's son Caliban and the effervescent air spirit Ariel - share with Prospero and his daughter. Prospero had been sent into exile by his brother. While marooned on the island he has developed magical powers which he uses to create a storm which causes a passing ship to sink. Among those who survive the wreckage are the King of Naples, his son Ferdinand, brother Sebastian and Prospero's enemy and brother, Antonio. After all sorts of complications everything bodes well for a happy journey home.
Thomas Adès, born in 1971, and - according to Simon Rattle - presently »England's greatest talent« dared, with his librettist Meredith Oakes, to replace Shakespeare's highly stylised poetic blank verse with present day language combined with rhyming couplets and other forms of rhyme. This language, said the librettist, accents Shakespeare's magical, ritual and childish elements. Adès' lyric musical language is almost impressionistic, with layers of richly coloured symphonic elements which allow the singers to be heard. In Adès'opera it is Caliban, the cynic, and not the all forgiving Prospero who has the last word.


Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been living on an island since his brother Antonio stole his title, the Duke of Milan. The ...
Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been living on an island since his brother Antonio stole his title, the Duke of Milan. The other inhabitants are Caliban, son of the witch Sycorax, and Ariel, a spirit of the air. Prospero summons a storm to sink a passing ship. Ariel is ordered to ensure that the survivors, Antonio, the King of Naples and his son Ferdinand among them, reach the shore. The King fears that his son is lost but they set out to look for him. Meanwhile, Prospero had ordered Ariel to lure Ferdinand to him, but he had not reckoned with his daughter falling in love with him. King Alonso and the others are so tired they can hardly walk. They believe Ferdinand must have perished and that they will soon meet the same fate. King Alonso names Gonzalo as his heir, thereby disinheriting his brother Sebastian. Ariel’s music makes everyone fall asleep except Antonio and Sebastian, who decide to murder the King and Gonzalo and crown Sebastian king. Ariel conjures up a banquet: Gonzalo takes this as a sign of goodwill from heaven. The feast vanishes. Ariel appears as a harpy, accusing them of their crimes. Filled with fear, they await a terrible death. Prospero realises that he has brought hell to the island. Miranda and Ferdinand tell him of their love. He calls for Ariel to bless them. He has had his revenge. Caliban appears, demanding Miranda and the island. Miranda tells him how hateful he is to her. Ariel’s emotional description of King Alonso and Antonio’s fear moves Prospero so much that he decides to release them all, Ariel included. Prospero reveals his identity. The King asks for forgiveness and offers Prospero his dukedom back. Ferdinand and Miranda announce that they are a couple, to the astonishment of the King and courtiers. Prospero renounces his powers and asks the spirit to stay with him. But Ariel chooses freedom. She and Caliban are left alone on the island.

Supported by Frankfurter Patronatsverein - Sektion OperSponsorenlogo Frankfurter Patronatsvereins - Sektion Oper

Sunday 10.01.2010 18:00 h

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Pre-booking and Pricing


Johannes Debus
Keith Warner
Set Designer
Boris Kudlička
Costume Designer
Jorge Jara
Norbert Abels
Lighting Designer
Davy Cunningham
Bibi Abel
Chorus Master
Michael Clark

Miranda, Prosperos Tochter
Claudia Mahnke
Prospero, Herzog von Mailand
Adrian Eröd
Ariel, ein Geist
Cyndia Sieden
Caliban, ein Wilder
Peter Marsh
Ferdinand, Sohn König Alonsos
Carsten Süss
Stefano, betrunkener Diener
Magnús Baldvinsson
Trinculo, Narr
Christopher Robson
Antonio, Prosperos Bruder
Michael McCown
Sebastian, Bruder König Alonsos
Sungkon Kim
Gonzalo, ehrlicher Ratsherr
Simon Bailey
Alonso, König von Neapel
Richard Cox

Chorus and Orchestra
of Oper Frankfurt

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