Victim of a conspiracy, Prospero – former Duke of Milan – is exiled on an island with his daughter Miranda. Using his magic powers, he enslaves Caliban, half-savage monster, and commands Ariel, a spirit of the air. Seeking revenge, he unleashes a storm causing the shipwreck on his island of his ennemies’ vessel. Prospero will thus be able to submit them to tests which will transform them all.
For his version of The Tempest, Robert Lepage transforms Prospero’s island into a theatre where behind-the-curtain games are plenty and from which the fallen Duke seeks his revenge.
Over the years, Robert Lepage has staged Shakespeare’s Tempest numerous times. His production of Thomas Adès’s operatic adaptation will explore the fascinating counterpoint of modern and classical elements of this version as it celebrates the Shakespearean roots of the play on which it’s based.
In Lepage’s production, Prospero’s island will be portrayed as the antique stage and auditorium of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, a setting that symbolizes the Milanese society from which Prospero has been banned. By setting an opera inside an opera, Lepage underlines the “mise en abyme” – or the story of the King, Antonio, Ferdinand and their court marooned inside Prospero’s story – present in the libretto.
Robert Lepage and his Ex Machina team will weave in together their distinctive signature, different medias and art forms into a production that marries traditional stagecraft from the 18th and the 19th centuries with contemporary storytelling devices.
The Tempest will take the stage at the Festival d’opéra de Québec on July 26-28-30 and August 1 2012, at the New York Metropolitan Opera on October 23-27-31 and November 3-6-10-14-17 2012, then at the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna).
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