The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 7, Episode 3 - Thomas Adès: The Tempest - full transcript


Hello, I'm Deborah Voigt.

Thomas Adès has been hailed as
England's new Benjamin Britten,

and "The Tempest,"
his operatic adaptation

of Shakespeare's magical play,
is his most famous work so far.

"The Tempest" is about
the power of love and sorcery

and about forgiveness
and reconciliation.

But it is also about

black spells, anger,
and revenge.

With its wide emotional range
and magical story,

Shakespeare's play has
captivated composer Adès

since he was a child.

It has also played a major role

in the professional life of
director Robert Lepage,

himself a master of
theatrical illusion

who has previously directed

eight different versions
of the play.

So, now it seems inevitable
that Lepage and Adès

would join forces for this very
successful new production

of "The Tempest"
at the Met.

Lepage has set his scenery
inside a fantasy version

of Milan's
La Scala opera house,

where the exiled Duke
and sorcerer Prospero

plots his revenge
and casts his spells.

Baritone Simon Keenlyside leads
our remarkable cast as Prospero;

the soprano Audrey Luna,
his fairy sprite Ariel;

tenor Alan Oke is the monstrous
but misunderstood Caliban;

and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard
and tenor Alek Shrader

are Miranda and Ferdinand,

whose love for each other
eventually thaws

Prospero's icy heart.

Here now is Thomas Adès'
"The Tempest."

[ Applause ]

[ Orchestra begins playing ]

Hell is empty

All the devils here!

Oh Father

Storm and thunder, rain and hail
Towering waves, furious gale

The ship is wrecked,
it groans, it shivers

Unnatural flames run and quiver

Screams faint like seagulls mewing

Is this my father's doing?

Woe the day

Father, there, fire and storm
While here it's calm

There black as night
While here the island's bright

Father, is this your skill?
What creatures have you killed?

The ship is torn apart

Their cry harrows my heart

Father, is this your art?

Woe the day


You are my care
Living on this island

What you are
You have never questioned

Now listen to your father

Fate has brought my enemies to this shore

They must suffer as I did before

I was Milan!
I was Duke!

I loved seclusion
And my books

Meanwhile my brother
who agreed to represent me

Plotted in his greed to overthrow me

He studied how to grant suits,
how to refuse them

How to reward his lackeys,
how to abuse them

He branded me incapable!
He thought me replaceable!

He went to the King of Naples!

To Naples, crude and specious

To Naples, vain and pitiless

To Naples, gaudy, great
Conniving state

Milan the fair
Milan the artful

Milan the rare
Milan the skilful

Milan my library
Milan my liberty

To Naples gross and bold
Milan was sold

Milan? What's Milan?

Fair Milan
Stooping stands

Robbed of grace
Dark of face

Casual sport
Of Naples venal court

Shamed, confused
Betrayed, abused

Miranda, cheated infant

Miranda, luckless innocent

Miranda, fierce the night
And black the spite

Put out to drift
No proper vessel

A rotting raft
No mast no tackle

Me and your crying self
Me and my commonwealth

Abandoned on a ship
The rats had quit!

Were we so friendless?

One man helped us

Good Gonzalo
Naples' counsellor

He contrived
To save our lives

He it was
Who let me keep my books

And stocked us well
When we set sail

Fearful story
I'm so sorry

How could this be a brother?

How could we have one mother?

Can Anthony and I
Be from one womb?

He took my limbs
And sucked my sweetness

Usurped my skin
Effaced my features

I was exhausted
I flew, I flew

I flew transporting you

To where you could await
A better fate

Father, such grief

I want to weep

What you have told me
Means nothing to me

Words full of fury
Distant and strange

Gone from my memory
All you describe to me

Sullen mystery
Dismaying rage

Headlands for climbing
Sand dunes for jumping

Shallows for swimming
All was so clear

No gale no ravage
No broken wreckage

No blast no damage
No storm no fear

Why have you called them
Why have you killed them

Why have you summoned
Such sorrow here?

Where you live is kind
Like your sheltered mind

Good is all you know

Sleep my child

Keep it so

Spirit, servant, come and tell
Are they punished, Ariel?


Fear to the sinner


Fire to the impure

Storm to the villain
Harm to the wrongdoer

They are harried, they are carried
To the reef, to the deep

They are blasted, they are dismasted
They are hit, they are split

They are wave-tossed
They are flame-crossed

They are found
They are drowned

Fear to the sinner
Fire to the impure

Storm to the villain
Harm to the wrongdoer

Flame to the trespasser
Dismay to the enemy

Terror to the visitor
Pain beyond remedy

Death to the transgressor
Woe beyond measure

Ariel, that's enough
There's no need to be rough

They must not be harmed
I wish them only charmed

Not a hair perished
On their clothes no blemish

Retrieve them, revive them

And bring them to the island

–Aid to the victims
–That's my spirit

–Help to the helpless
–Go and do it

Care to the stricken
Hope to the distressed

Safe in this harbour
My false brother

Unscathed but marked within
Shall know his sin!

Balm to the injured
Peace to the targeted

Life to the inundated
Love to the hated

The duties I ignored
Will now be made good

Oh blind men I'll find them
My light will reach inside them

Now heal them and free them
Where I can hide and see them

Sorcerer, die

Caliban, why?

Such rain
It fell like thunder

Such flame
It hissed like water

Tell me how

Caliban, not now

How you burned the vessel
How you destroyed the people

Don't ask questions, slave
Know your place

This island's mine
I am king

Yet you treat me like nothing

Your art makes me bow to you
As fires burn and winds blow for you

I took you for my brother

The island's mine,
by Sycorax my mother

When I first found you,
you were weak

Crouched by a rock,
your child in your cloak

I came to save you
I was your friend

Nor were you ever
Unkind to me then

You scorn me and you strike me
You say you do not like me

I showed you all the island
The fertile and the barren

All I had you were given
But now you have forgotten

You lie, you whine
You waste my time

You are ungrateful
So is your child

Miranda who used to
Sleep by my side

So small she was and slender
Her skin was soft and tender

She'd ride upon my shoulders
I watched her growing older

Soon she'll be having children
Yes, she'll make little Calibans

Abhorrent slave
Go to your cave

Lunatic, all this is in your mind

Hagseed, I warn you
I've seen you

With Miranda
Creeping round her

I'm patient

But if you loiter
Near my daughter

Filth that you are
You devil's spawn

I'll send you pains
That rack your bones



Have you recovered them?
Are they here?

They are sleeping
They are dreaming

By the shore
All restored

Where the parrots
Shriek and chatter

In the shade
They are laid

I have stitched them
I have sewn them

They are healed
They are whole

Now sing to one
Thieving Naples' son

Prince Ferdinand
Heir to Milan

Bring him here with a beckoning round

My foes shall mourn and his
grieving father think him drowned

Shall I be paid?

–My wage

–Dare you ask it?
–I do

Fickle spirit

–It's due! My release, you swore
–So cold so prompt

I need you yet
Is this your thanks?

I still have tasks
You can't leave me

Eager and faithful
Patient and true

Zealous and cheerful
Servant to you

Twelve years your slave
Soon to be free

Oh how I crave
My liberty

Twelve years for insolence
You were confined

By the witch Sycorax
In a forked pine

Sycorax died
Lest you forget

Left you inside
I prised you out

I have been captive
With you twelve years

I must be active
In higher spheres

Spirits must rise
Or atrophy

I only thrive
In liberty!

You made a promise
When you were freed

Twelve years of service
Do as I need

Or you'll be stuck
Malignant thing

Twelve years in an oak
I'll clip your wings!

–Eager and faithful, patient and true
–You made a promise

–I only thrive in liberty
–Do as I need or you'll be stuck

–I must be active in higher spheres
–Malignant thing twelve years in an oak

Bring me Ferdinand!

Five fathoms deep
Your father lies

Those are pearls
That were his eyes

Nothing of him
That was mortal is the same

His bones are coral

He has suffered
A sea change

Into something
Rich and strange

[ Bells tinkling ]

Sea-nymphs hourly
Ring his knell

I can hear them

Ding dong bell

As I sat weeping
I heard singing

A song that pictured
My drowned father

This sound has calmed the storm
And lulled the tempest's rage

Has put the winds to sleep
And smoothed the pounding waves

This influence, this hush
Across the water stealing

Has stopped the thunder's noise
And stilled my weeping

Who's here?

Is she
A goddess?

Are you a spirit?
Are you a shade?

Are you a thing my father made?

She's awake
Did my spell break?

You're handsome
Are you human?

Here on the coast
A ship was lost

I'm all that's left
The rest are dead

I never knew
A man could look like you

Am I so strange?

No don't change

What next, she's bewitched!

I never saw your like before

You're wet through
Let me tend you

I never saw your equal

I'll make you Queen of Naples

Sir, Naples unseated me
Took my sovereignty

My dukedom
Stolen by treason

This was the crime

Between your house and mine

Sir you're angry
Sir I'm sorry

I came here from Naples
My father was king there

I'm lost sir
Is this your daughter?

Stupid youth
What's the use?

You're not here
To gawp at her

Young fool
Be still!

Father don't oh father please
Try to put him at his ease

I'm paralysed by him
I can't command my limbs!

Why must you be so savage?
He's not done you any damage

He has practised
Some trick, some magic

Try to understand
This is Ferdinand

Gilded and handsome
Through our misfortune

Nurtured on the squalor
Of his odious father

Raised in a kingdom
Of thieves and villains

In what dream am I bound?

Never think that I'll forgive you

Am I lost or am I found?

Let him go, or I won't love you!

Try to understand
This is Ferdinand

Gilded and handsome
Through our misfortune

Though he's full of hate
I don't fear his threats or persecution

–Such fury how could he
–I don't fear this prison

No, prison will be sweet

Father shame on you

I will stand and wait

Nothing will dismay me
If she is near me

Leave this child of sin
I must punish him

And the rest as well
Bring me to them, Ariel

Bow-wow, bow-wow

What should I do now? bow-wow

Shall I bark, bow-wow

These mortals and their woe bow-wow

[ Applause ]

Alive, awake

In some place

Where the storm
Has left no trace

Gull tracks
Tide wrack

Glistening shells
Flotsam, kelp

Dry sand

No rain
Tranquil, strange


Clothes untorn
As if newborn

Is it possible?
Is it a miracle?

Shining beaches
Shimmering hills

Tangled jungle
Unearthly still

I had the notion
I flew above the ocean

Like some gull
Hard to tell

Dragons were coiling
Cauldrons were boiling

–Above my head
–We might be dead

–We were sunk
–I was drunk

–I had a skinful
–I clung to a barrel, no blood

No bruise
All smooth

In what tempest were we blown?

To what coast have we come?

Now I see them
All together

There's Naples' king!
With his brother

There's Gonzalo
Once my saviour

There he is
There's my brother

Haunt them, taunt them
Goad and tease

Prick them, trick them
Haunt them, taunt them

Prick them, trick them
Give them no peace

All safe on land

All save Ferdinand

He's not here

Naples' son
The king's in tears

Sir, be cheerful
This is remarkable!

Please don't weep
Your Majesty

Plucked from the storm
Our clothes fresh, as if unworn!

Sir, this is evidence
We are loved by Providence!

Prince Ferdinand your son
Is surely in good hands

–Lord Gonzalo
–Hopeful fellow

Sir, I saw him in the water
Striking bravely for the land

The prince is an outstanding swimmer!

I've every confidence
in that young man


What's that, sire?

I didn't speak

My mistake

Sir, the tempest has not claimed him
He's loved by fate! He is your son

He's energetic and determined
A prince if ever there was one


What, your Highness?

–I've not spoken
–Sir, you're joking

–You're disturbed
–No, I heard

Milan, your vanity,
your self-promotion

Have brought us
to this godforsaken shore

For you we braved
the perils of the ocean

The ship is wrecked,
my nephew is no more

Prince Sebastian, as your host
I did my best

Bringing you away
On holiday

I don't deserve
Your hurtful words

My only thought
Was for the court

My brother's only child,
flower of the nation

How will you bring him back?
What will you do?

We came from Naples at your invitation

The blame for this misfortune
lies with you

I wanted everything
Perfect for the king

Spare us your excuses

The hurricane
Was unforeseen

They're quite useless

Oh Prince of Naples and Milan

What fish has made its meal on you!

Oh hear me Ferdinand

I should have died not you

He's not drowned
He'll be found!

–Courage sir, and rule!
–Feeble fool

–He slights my brother
–Not me, some other!

What did he say?
Traitor, you'll pay

How dare you turn against me
With abuse and strictures

You queued up to befriend me
You posed with me for pictures!

Your courtly entertainments
Were paid for with my purse

Milan was patron
To volumes of your verse

Your feasts your palaces
Your pleasures and your pets

Your schemes your businesses
I guaranteed your debts

It's all his fault
And still he talks

His disrespect
Is manifest

I invited you to dinner

Wasters, idlers, thieves and sinners

Hark at him, hark at him
Now he's unmasked

Ungrateful trash
He should be thrashed!

Friends, desist
We're bewitched!

Obnoxious man

Impudent vermin
He should be beaten

Wait, good people!

Beat him
At him, Naples

A monster!

A local!

These are visitors
These are voyagers

With jewelled hands
From some bright land

Dressed like royalty
How they stare at me

Mysterious grace
In every face

He's ugly
He's friendly

Such men such women

You have dropped from heaven

Yes, savage loon
We're from the moon

Monster will you help us?
You've so much to teach us

How to plait our hair with mud

How to be pigeon-footed

How to gaze with gaping mouth
Wild vague and stupid

Monster what shall we give you
To show how much we love you

Buttons or handkerchiefs
Braid from our coatsleeves

Pieces of petty change

Or some brandy?
We've got some handy

This is a sign
You are kind

Just help yourself
Drink all you want

It's vintage from
The royal vault

The creature's
Not used to liquor

Is it prudent
To tempt him to it?

Oh brotherhood
This drink is good

I'll take you where mud crabs grow
I'll show you a jay's nest

I'll lead you where
the best springs flow

I'll help you snare the marmoset

With my long nails
I'll dig you pignuts

I'll swim to catch you turtles

I'll fetch you clustering chestnuts

From the rocks get you young scamels

He babbles
What are scamels?

Oh potent drink
That makes me strong

Yes, have some more!
That's right, go on!

It burns in me

With tongues of fire

It lifts me up

Higher and higher

Higher and higher

Who's there?

Who's there?

It's air!

It's air!


Haunted coast
It's a ghost

Friends don't fear
The island's full of noises

Sounds and voices
It's the spirits

Sometimes they come
After I've slept

And hum me
Back to sleep

With a twanging
And a sweetness

Like playing
A thousand instruments

Then I dream
I'm seeing heaven

It's as if
The clouds had opened

I see riches
Raining from them

Then I wake
And cry to dream again

Spirits he calls them
What is this island?

Sir, what you're saying I don't know
Nor where we are nor where to go

There was a tempest not long since
Can you help us find our prince?

No such storm have I seen
Since my mother Sycorax was queen

She could enrage the tide
She could make the toadfish hide

She could call demons here
That shook the coast with fear

Her art was nothing though
To the art my master knows

So we're not alone here!

I was a child
In his hands

By treachery
He took my lands

He killed your prince!
He made the storm

He means you harm
He hates you all

Do you hear, gentlemen,
What he says of sorcery?

Certain scholars have been known
To perform prodigies

Who are we to dismiss
What the simple creature says?

How do we know what arts
May be practised in this place?

He can summon up at will
Suns, moons, heats, chills

No one can tell what is real

Changing clouds to galleons

Peopling the empty shore with companions

He makes you believe

You see and hear and touch
what he conceives

No stronger art I know

Than the art of Prosper–

Who's your master?

I can't tell

I'm not well

The creature's drunk
And you're a crank

Keep your theories
To yourself

You've done enough!

Spreading groundless fear among us
Magnifies the wrong you've done us

Stupid lies are all that's left you
You've already killed my nephew

The monster
Speaks wild nonsense

We'll find the prince
Although the jungle's dense

We'll go on trying
We'll search the island

We'll not fear
Whatever's here

It will be done
We'll find your son

We'll go on trying
We'll search the island

We'll not fear
Whatever's here

It will be done
We'll find your son

We'll press ahead–

My son is dead

The sea mocks
Our search on land

He's lost
Whom we stray to find

He's gone

Words, words, words
Can't cure it

As for hope
I'll not endure it

The pain's
Too keen

Would I were bedded
Where Ferdinand lies

Yes mudded
In that ooze

Let him go

Sir, he's not gone
We'll find him further on

Go and search
Where there's no path

Go in circles
Drink the salt marsh

Wander the swamp
Stumble and crawl

Babble and rave
Go till you fall

Driven insane
You'll know my name

They won't find him
He's a dead man

–It's a tragedy
–Have a brandy

We're all doomed

–No food no cover
–Have another

Lost in the wilderness
That I should come to this

Nothing to do, but sit and think
Have a drink

Naples, goodbye
Here's where we'll die

All your woe
Comes from my foe

–What's that, monster?
–Is his fit over?

Help me regain my land
I'll be your friend

–Oh certainly
–Thanks, your majesty

When he's dead
You'll be king instead

You'll be master
Of his daughter

–Is she clean?
–She'll be your queen

–Is she sweet?
–She visits my sleep

Soft as the dew

We'll go with you

The mage will die
And on his child

I'll sire a nation In the wild

Thought is free
And in this land

I'll bow no more
To any man

The mage will die
And on his child

I'll sire a nation In the wild

Thought is free
And in this land

I'll not bow
To any man

We'll bow no more
To any man

What was before
Is no more

My father's gone
I live on

Bound and tied
Till I die

Trees and stones
To be my home

Lost like a dream
All I've been

Nothing left
But this grief

Only she
Comforts me

In this night
She is the light

How can I offer
What I'd give?

How can I ask for
What I'd have?

Do you love me?

Why do I weep?

Love is strong
I am weak

As soon as I saw you
My heart flew to serve you

As if it had waited
My whole life to love you

What's your name?


I've disobeyed
Father said not to say

Admired Miranda
Wonder of my life

My wife

High on the headland
Low in the dry sand

Deep in the woodland
There we'll lie

Or on a rock face
Near where the waves break

Hearing the tide race
You and I

Oh will you have me
Tell me you love me

If you are with me
I am entire

My lover smiling

Blessed asylum

Bountiful island

All I desire

I've lost her

I cannot rule their minds

My child has conquered me

A stronger power than mine
Has set the young man free

At the end of
the previous act,

Prospero has successfully
launched his plot for revenge,

but he seems to have lost
his daughter in the process.

When Prospero's resolve
begins to waver,

his world starts unraveling.

Here is the conclusion of
"The Tempest."

[ Applause ]

[ Applause ]

This way
They're close by

Wait a moment
For refreshments

Monster, have mercy
I'm thirsty

So am I

Courage! It's not much further

Death to her father

–One more drink
–Yes, but be quick

I drink to a man
King Stefan

A glorious reign will soon begin

King Stephen with his maiden queen

Run girl and hide
I'll come to you

I'll show you what
A man can do

–Quiet or we'll be found
–One more round

A glorious reign will soon begin

King Stephen with his maiden queen

By my art you are deceived

Do your part, I'll be free


Death to her father

Spirit must I right my wrongs?

Miranda's gone

Are you faithful, Ariel?

Oh serve me well

By rotting ponds
By dripping cliffs

In sinking ground
I've led them up and down

Through sucking quicksand
Through swamps and saltpans

Through weeping leaves
Past the stinging tree

Through swarms of flies
Oh let me rise

I've chased them high and low
Oh let me go!

No! Don't betray me
Spirit don't fail me

Are they dismayed?
What do they say?

Do they see?
Have they thought of me?

See them
They are weak

They can hardly walk!

The island is a maze
of straight paths and meanders

See them
They can hardly walk

We'll all die

If the prince escaped
the tempest's anger

He's fallen prey
to some animal's hunger

My old bones ache
I can walk no further

You've tired us out

And in vain
I knew it was a waste of time

Ferdinand, why did the sea
Take you not me?

Or some other
My brother

You were young
You were fair

Now Sebastian is my heir

Soon this grief will end my life

Ferdinand I'll not let
Naples forget

My brother lacks your merit
He'll not inherit

Gonzalo heed me
You'll succeed me

I'll see to it
You will be regent

You're tired sir
Sleep sir

So weary so heavy

You're not your brother's favourite

That's no secret

All of a sudden
They're sleeping

This accident could make us friends
One day we'll see Naples again

Say what you like
Laugh at my fall

I can expect
Nothing at all

That's up to you
You must decide

See how they sleep
As if they'd died

If it were so
You'd be the king

None of the court
Could say a thing

You have strange thoughts
Just like my own

You had a brother
Then he was gone

Dare and succeed
Do it my soul

Fortune, it's said
Waits on the bold

One for the king
One for this lord

Two at one blow
Put to the sword

Open your eyes if you value your lives

Oh see what's stirring
Old men stop your snoring

If you value your lives open your eyes


–What's that shout?
–Someone's about

–We armed ourselves against the danger

They're the same, still the same
As if nothing had changed

Poison to the core
Malevolent as before

What suff'ring will move them?
Are these creatures human?

My art must strike their hearts

Help us!

What things are these?

Bizarre beyond belief

Strange vision

It's provisions

Friends, we've been given
Food from heaven

If I were king
Of such a land as this

All men would live
In idleness

No rich, no poor
Service would be unknown

No writ no law
No business, none

No knife no gun
No crime no felony

No need of engines
No usury

No trade there'd be
No gold no sin

There'd be no sovereign–

If he were king.

So much for politics
Let's eat

[ Screaming ]

Fearful creature

You are men of sin
As you know

You from Milan
Banished Prospero

Even the hungry sea
Could not stomach you

But belched you up
Remembering Prospero

As you sentenced them

Twelve years ago

To starve and die
The child and Prospero

You are sentenced here
To wasting slow

Extinction like your
Brother Prospero

This is heaven's anger

Monstrous monstrous

I heard his voice, I saw his face
Prospero is in this place

Monstrous monstrous on the shore
Prospero in the ocean's roar

Prospero's ghost condemns me

Nature speaks against me

–My mind's undone
–My sin has killed my son!

What they did long ago
Has come back to them now

Poison from buried crimes
Has worked upon their minds

Their brains are boiled
within their skulls

Spirit this is magical

Souls in torment make your payment

Now you dwell with me in hell

With my art I've dimmed the sun
Made the wild ocean run

Broken Jove's stout oak
With fire from his own bolt

The headland I've shaken
I've made the dead waken

And brought hell's fury to the shore

Nothing more

Ferdinand and I–

Sir, she's my bride

My life's work
Is nothingness

I shall never
Know your bliss

Father don't be angry
I'm so happy

Miranda forgive your father

My work was hard
The end is harder

To wish you well here's Ariel

Is it a spirit?

Yes my servant

Awesome parent

Children born of mortal strife

May you live a happy life

Prospero's revenge is done

Naples soon will see his son

–My father? Alive?
–Naples survived

Fly away from these sad times
Rise above your fathers' crimes

–When can I see him?
–Soon you'll greet him

Prospero has had his vengeance
Prospero who made the tempest

Sir I don't understand

Wait! I smell Caliban

The tempest? You sent it?

Our revels are ended

Why do you stare?

He's melted into air

So cities will perish

Palaces vanish

The globe itself

Nothing stay

All will fade

Murder this man
I am Caliban

Punish his crime
The island's mine

Caliban's reign will soon begin

King Caliban with his maiden queen

Have you gone mad?

Give me your daughter
We'll have Calibans

Many and strong
So my line goes on

She was promised
Raised from childhood

To be my queen
Give her to me

Have you seen yourself?

Have you thought
of my daughter's honour

Burdened with such a husband

You're always following
Always watching

When I walk the beach
Or the path on the cliffs

Always there
Alien, weird

You and me
How could that be?

Poor beast
Last in the race

You have no future

Ariel, one thing
The king

He and your brother
Stare and shudder

Their minds are lost
In fear and horror

While Gonzalo's tears
Run down his beard

Your spell so works them
That if you saw them

Your heart would soften

Mine would, were I human

If you who are air
Feel their trouble

So much the more
Shall I be merciful

This hour your work will cease
You'll be released

Quietness will comfort
Wits that have suffered

Waken madmen
Your eyes are opened

My name you know

Prospero living
I thought I'd killed him

Your pulse beats
You're flesh and blood

I fear
I've been mad

Forgive what I did
My son is dead

I'll do anything you ask me
Only please show me his body

My sins have brought this sorrow on me
Take back your dukedom

I'll give you more than your kingdom

The prince!

Oh providence!
Are you real

It's not my eyes
I couldn't bear to lose you twice

Ferdinand embrace your father

This is my child Miranda

O heaven's mercy

Father, we're married

From my daughter
I the father

Like an infant
Plead forgiveness

How good they are,
how bright, how grand

And I am loved by Ferdinand

Oh perfection of my life
I've a father and a wife

Now my work is at an end
I can mar and I can mend

Now my child is given me
I'll abandon vanity

Now the wild despair is past
Reconciled and healed at last

How these things happened who can say?
Or how our vessel came this way

Calm your mind
Your woes are left behind

Your ship is new
And waits for you

From the ocean
Our ship which was broken

Is risen
The prince who was missing

Is here and living
Our sins are forgiven

Salute the power of heaven

Oh brave new world

Oh simple girl

Who are these people
More than strange

This is a marriage fate arranged
Our kingdom will be stable

This match unites Milan and Naples

Bring the other men as well
I forgot them, Ariel

This task
Is the last

Are we awake?
And in good shape?

–It seems we are
–How my head aches

Oh can it be
We're going back to Italy

Bless this isle
Where Prospero found his dukedom

Ferdinand his bride
And Naples Ferdinand

You gods look down
All who were lost are found

As far as Naples I'll keep you company

We'll marry these young people
with proper ceremony

And on the journey
You'll tell your story

Fortunate pair
A state affair

To call you brother I've no wish
Still I'll forgive

You'll forgive at no cost
You've won I've lost

I've lost my pride my life
Your child is Naples' wife

Naples' wife, spoiled child of fortune
Which you call the will of heaven

The will of heaven which decreed
You were born better than me

Better than me with my poor courage
Which has turned to your advantage

Your advantage blocks my breath
And your life has been my death

Pride, pride
All will die

I'll drown my book
I'll break my stave

I'll rule in Milan
Beside my grave

Stay with me

Save me


Now I've no art

Pity take my part

Who was here?
Have they disappeared?

Were there others?
Were we brothers?

Did we feast?
And give gifts?

Were there fires
And ships?

They were human seeming
I was dreaming

In the gleam of the sand

[ Ariel trilling ]

In the hiss of the spray
In the deep of the bay

In the gulf in the swell

[ Ariel trilling ]

[ Ariel continues trilling ]

[ Ariel's trilling fades, ends ]

[ Applause ]

I'm Peter Gelb,
the Met's General Manager.

I'm honored to be sitting with
the three main creative forces

behind this new production of
Thomas Adès' brilliant opera,

"The Tempest" --

Meredith Oakes,
the librettist;

Tom Adès,
the composer and conductor;

and Robert Lepage,
the director.

Thanks to their
remarkable efforts,

the present and future of opera
feels more secure.

Tom, I know that
"The Tempest" was an opera

that you did not arrive at
immediately as a subject.

What made you do it?

Oh, I'd been through

several possibilities
for libretti,

and, uh, indeed was already
talking to Meredith

at that time.

And the idea
popped into my head, uh,

"I could just try to do
'The Tempest'."

And, uh, the next thought was,

"No, you couldn't,
It would be impossible."

But it was already
too late.

And I think I went to you very
quickly and you said,

funnily enough,
you'd had the same idea.

So that --
by that point it was,

you know, it was
too late to get out.

Meredith, how did you
arrive at the, uh --

at the way of,
as you did,

of modernizing the language
of Shakespeare?

I mean, it's true
to Shakespeare,

but it's -- but it's not
Shakespeare's language at all.

Well, I knew
I had to do it,

because, um,
for one thing,

pentameter is a very awkward
rhythm for singing

if you have
a lot of it.

And for another thing,

there's a lot more in
"The Tempest"

than you can really fit
into an opera.

And there are also things
in the plot

which are not explicit
enough for an opera.

So, you know, I was trying to
find words that would be,

you know,
useful and good,

but I wouldn't feel that
I were shackled by --

GELB: Right.

You know, what --
I did feel I was shackled by it.

But, you know,
you have to get over it.

Well, obviously,
what you did, the two of you,

was a great success,

because this opera has now been
staged numerous times

and this is just the latest of
the times that it's been staged.

I think it's had
eight different presentations

in different opera houses.

And now Robert Lepage
has joined, um,

the "Tempest" party

and has directed
this new production.

And, uh, Robert,
maybe you could explain

what made you decide
to place this

in an opera house -- not
the Metropolitan Opera House,

but the 19th Century
version of La Scala?

La Scala --
well, actually, uh,

"The Tempest" is probably
Shakespeare's play

where music plays a...

where music is
a character, basically.

It's actually incarnated
by spirits

and by sprouts and,
uh, actually,

a lot of the magic spells
that Prospero whips

are magical musical tricks.

So, the metaphor of the opera
was actually quite important

in this concept.

And the idea that if
a 19th Century Prospero

would be isolated on an island
and would try to avenge himself

and create illusions
for these enemies

that wash up on the shore,

the bag of tricks,

or the magical box
that he would construct

would probably be something
very theatrical

and certainly something
very operatic.

So that La Scala,
coming from Milan,

because he used to be
the Duke of Milan,

um, is probably like
a fond memory.

And this magic theater

allows him to create
all these amazing illusions.

The, uh, plot,
as you were referring to,

had to be revised slightly,
or modified slightly.

Can you explain why
the two of you --

how does -- how does it work
between librettist and composer?

Every great composer/librettist
collaboration, I think,

in history has a different,
uh, methodology to it.

What is the method of
the two of you

as composer
and librettist?

Well, I started a bit,
and then showed it to Tom.

-And then he --
-And I said, "Keep going."

I think the solutions
that we found

to some of these
plot questions --

for example, had to deal with
Ferdinand and Miranda

coming together
against Prospero's will,

which in the play is,
as you say, it's less explicit.

It's a little unclear
what his attitude is.

We made it very simple,
I think,

with the power of love releases
Ferdinand from the spell.

And that's not really
in Shakespeare,

but it does make sense --

it made sense,
musically, to me.

So, that was
the way it stayed.

GELB: Robert, if anyone is
an expert on "The Tempest,"

it's you -- you have
staged this play

eight different times
in the course of your career,

which has spanned
three decades,

I guess, or maybe
even a little more.

What is it about
"The Tempest"

that strikes such
a chord with you?

Well, of Shakespeare's plays,
of course, it's, um,

it's often considered
as his testament.

So, it's actually,
you know --

it contains all of
the refinement

of all of the plotting
of his comedies

and historical plays
and political plays.

And so, it's really
kind of a --

it sums up pretty much
all of his work.

So, it's an ideal,

if you're really interested
in Shakespeare.

It's the ideal piece to study
and to dissect

and to try to

pull apart
to reglue it again

in ways that resonate
in our time.

So, it's a very, very exciting,
complex, rich

piece of music,
in this case,

and piece of writing
on the stage.

Well, thank you,
all three of you,

for enhancing the understanding
of the opera for our audiences

who are watching around
the world in movie theaters.

And it's been thrilling for
all of us at the Met

to present "The Tempest"

and to share it with
our global audience today.

-Thank you very much.
-Thank you.

-Isabel, Alek, Bravi.
-Thank you.

Now, as we just saw,
the two of you end Act I

by walking off into the sunset.

Is that an operatic first
for you, Isabel?

-Oh, absolutely.
-Yeah, me too. Yeah.

How long did it take you
to learn this new opera?

Longer than any other role
I've done so far.

It's very challenging.

The key signature
and the time signature

changes every
couple of bars.

Some of the
intervals are --

Some of the intervals,
I don't really --

I've never sung some of
these intervals before.

The father-daughter relationship
is central to the story,

both in Shakespeare's play
and in Thomas' opera.

Tell us about Miranda's
struggle for independence.

Is this a familiar role
for you to play on stage?

Well, it's different than
the other young women

that I've played so far,
but she,

I think, like a lot of
the other young women in opera

are all coming of age
to some degree or another.

And particularly in
"The Tempest,"

obviously in the Shakespeare
and in this,

that's her main struggle.

She's seeing her father
in a different light

for the first time,

and she kind of
gets ahead of him

towards the end of the opera,

knowing how he's feeling
before he gets around to it.

And that's a big
coming-of-age moment,

I think,
for any child,

recognizing their parents
as other adults

rather than their parent.

Alek, how did you work with
the composer and the director

in developing
the role?

Did you have some input?

"I don't want to sing that high
note, can we talk a bit?"

[ All laughing ]

Well, um, look,
the music is very difficult,

but Tom is
such a generous

conductor and composer.

He's so giving to singers

and wants to make it
as easy as possible,

given the task
that he has presented,

and wonderful
to work with.

Supported you
all the way.

He's incredibly supportive.

Isabel, what's your favorite
part of today's opera?

Oh, I like Act II,
because we have

the best music in Act II --
for us.

-You do, that's true.
-I don't mean overall, just...

It's very,
very beautiful.

Do you have
a special moment?

I -- the same,
I agree completely.

What's the most difficult
part to sing?

I would say the trio
in Act I.

So, the tough
part's over?

Oh, yeah, the tough part --

Done, yeah.

Well, how does it
change things

when you're rehearsing
a new role

with the composer right there
with you in the room?

More scrutiny, sort of,
under the microscope?

Well, again, Thomas Adès
is one of the nicest people

that I've met,

and he was incredibly generous
and patient with us.

It's been very rewarding.

Good luck with the rest of it,

and thank you very much,
Isabel and Alek.

-Thank you.
-All right, take care.

I'm with our Prospero,
Simon Keenlyside.

-Hello, Simon.
-Hi, Deb, hi.

Thomas Adès discuss
the creation of his opera,

which he composed with you
in mind in 2004.

And when you first did have a
chance to see the score

to "The Tempest,"
what was your reaction?


That would have
been mine too.

Yeah, of course.

Well, Thomas has said that
the storm music

Prospero's rage

and desire for

Tell us a little bit about

your character's
internal struggle

and how it's reflected
in the music.

Yeah, I thought you might ask me
about "The Tempest,"

Shakespeare's most

in 30 seconds -- go!

Please, please, go.

Um, what do
I think about it?

I think that the a lot of
the composers that we deal with,

it's about how to deal with
the middle ground.

The extreme of
Ariel as thought

and of Caliban
as the visceral nature,

and Prospero,

is also stitched into
a normal story

that all the audience
will understand --

letting go of your daughter,
and those things -- that helps.

But really, it's about,
as you age,

there's many
laminations there,

but as you age, how is it
to let go of your power?

Never mind magic --

whether it's a pen
or a magic wand

or just a businessman
in the middle of his career

or a singer in
the middle of theirs.

How many of our colleagues
have we seen

try to let go gracefully
of their powers?

It's the same thing --

to approach the quietness

of the last chapters of
your life with grace.

And, uh, a lot of that,
I think, is Prospero's journey.

Well, we only have
a few more seconds together

and I just have to ask you
about the tattoos.

Oh, tattoos are done by
Jimmy Cortez,

one of the Met staff,
and he's fantastic.

Hours and hours and hours.

And they wear off
every night.

But it's
an interesting concept,

because a man whose had
his library taken away from him

has the spells
written on his body.

And I think that's
a lovely idea, yeah.

Thank you, Jimmy.
You did a wonderful job.

Well, in the eight
and a half years

since you first
created this role,

what's changed about the way

that you play Prospero?

Any singer -- the secret is
to take one step back

and keep calm
in the middle of the storm,

whether it be Verdi
or Adès.

That's the secret.

And every singer,
as you well know,

spends their entire life
trying to work that out.

Isn't that the truth?

-Thanks so much, Simon.
-Thanks, Deb.

I'm with the singers behind two
of the other-worldly characters

in today's opera -- Audrey Luna
and Alan Oke -- hello.

BOTH: Hello.

Now, being a soprano, I'm going
to start with you, Audrey.

How do you do it?

Are your vocal chords
doing little pushups

to get you up into
that stratosphere?

Well, I don't do
anything differently.

Um, this role just highlights
the extreme top of my voice,

unlike other roles I sing
like Gilda

or even
Queen of the Night.

Do you have to warm up
a special amount?

Just a little bit higher.

Yeah, mm-hmm,
a little bit, oy.

A little bit.

Well, I noticed that
in this production,

Robert Lepage has you,

almost never
touching the ground,

and you, Caliban, slithering
around in the lower regions.

That's it.

What is the idea
behind that?

Oh, well, she's a creature
of the clouds and of --

she's a spirit.

And I think probably
once she touches ground,

she ceases to exist.

Whereas that's
my natural medium,

in amongst that mess.

Well, tell us a little bit
about working with Robert

and the physicality of
your role, Audrey.

You may be one of
the first sopranos

to do her own stunts
on the Met stage.

And I see that you're
wearing a harness,

right back here.

Are you an acrobat?

No, I'm not an acrobat.

Jaime Verazin
is the acrobat,

and you saw her
twirling around

on the chandelier
in the overture.

She's amazing.

Um, but, uh,
I think it's interesting

what Robert and the
choreographer Crystal Pite did,

uh, with the physicality,
in that, uh,

it's very clear that I'm not
a creature of this world.

Very clear.

And the struggle
within me,

how I'm being
held captive,

they actually encouraged me
to improvise a little bit

within the language of
the movement that they created.

So, no performance is really --

Well, it seems
very organic.

From you, yeah.

Alan, even though some people
see Caliban as the monster,

this opera emphasizes
his more human side.

Now how much does
Shakespeare's Caliban

form your
portrayal today?

I think that's -- I think that's
in the Shakespeare as well.

He's not just a baddie,
there's more to --

more to him than that.

And he represents
a lot of Prospero --

maybe some bad things
about Prospero.

And he's struggling
to get out of that.

And Prospero
won't let him.

Well, Meredith Oakes
has kept the spirit

of Shakespeare's poetry,

but distilled it into
more modern language.

How do you respond to
the language of this libretto?

Oh, I'm asking you.

Do you actually get all
those words out up there?

I try my best.

I hope you're
understanding me.

Yeah, well, uh, it's --
I think it's very singable.

That's the difference between
maybe straight speech

or straight prose,
and what Meredith has done.

It's very,
very singable.

It gives you
something to aim for.

Audrey and Alan,
thank you both so much.

I'm with our composer
and conductor, Thomas Adès,

who is getting ready to return
to the pit

for Act III
of "The Tempest."

-Hello, Thomas.

Well, now,
how is it going so far?

Oh, I think we're doing a good
job so far, making it happen.

Well, when you're conducting
your own work,

[ Singing in Italian ]

how does it change from
performance to performance?

Well, little things can happen
which I have to be attentive

and flexible to little things
that happen on stage.

People are moving around a lot.

So we just have to respond
in the pit,

and, as you know,
not come unstuck.

Yeah. Well, you don't.

You first conducted this opera
in 2004,

for the world premiere at
Covent Garden.

And now that you have
more distance,

do you find yourself emphasizing
different aspects of the score

as you conduct
here at the Met?

Well, again, it's like the flap
of a butterfly's wing --

a little thing can happen that
changes all the proportions.

And it's a little different
animal every time.

-Well, it's live performance.
-That's it, you see.

Well, Simon, who says that he
absolutely loves this opera

-and you --
-Oh, thank goodness for that.

Also says that Prospero may be

the hardest role
he has ever sung.

Now, what makes it difficult
for singers?

-Your music?

I don't know.

This is a big complicated role

and he changes moods
within a single sentence.

So, uh, that actually means --

you know, it's high in the voice
and then low in the voice

and then soft and then loud.

And it's a big, long --
it's the whole evening.

So, uh, I guess,
that's challenging.

But as far as I can see,
he does it --

Without seeming challenged,

Well, you have some singers
in this cast

who have never sung
your work before.

How do you train them to sing
an Adès composition?

What do you tell them?

Well, they they look at
the score --

-"Learn the notes."
-Learn the notes.

And, uh, and then if something
is uncomfortable, we talk about

[ Cheers and applause ]

what it is that, you know, my --

I can try and help them to get
it more comfortable for them.

And usually we arrive somewhere.

Like, changing notes for them?

That doesn't really need to
happen most of the time, no.


Well, how does a different cast

change your perception
of your own work?

Well, we had very different
people play, for example,

the role of Caliban,
and, uh -- because there are

many different ways to look at
the character.

And Alan Oke is bringing

a particular kind of quality
to it.

The last guy that did it
was absolutely different.

And I love that.

Were you involved in
the casting of the opera?

Yes, I was actually.

It all happened so long ago, I
can hardly remember the process.

I'm going to be nice to you

for when you write that
dramatic soprano piece.

Yes, yes.

How did you like working with
Robert Lepage?

Were you surprised that he
wanted to see the action

inside a recreation of La Scala?

I understand exactly
why that happened.

He's directed the play
eight times -- "The Tempest" --

and this is the first time
an opera.

And it makes sense for me
to have, therefore --

it's in an opera house.

Well, how's it been, working
with the Met orchestra,

as we hear them tuning up
in the background?

Pure pleasure.

MAN: Maestro, to the pit,
please; Maestro to the pit.

-That sounds like my call.
-I do believe that is your call.

Thank you very much
for talking with us.

-Toi, toi, toi.
-Thank you.