Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: The Enchanted Island 

Radio Broadcast of Saturday, March 8, 12 P.M.

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A storm at sea, in The Enchanted Island
© Beatriz Schiller 2014
The 2013–14 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by 
Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®, with generous long-term support from 
The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation,
the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media,
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

The Enchanted Island  

Devised and written by Jeremy Sams
Inspired by Shakespeare's Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream 
Music by George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Jean-Philippe Rameau, André Campra, Jean-Marie Leclair, Henry Purcell, Jean-Féry Rebel
THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance)
Prospero countertenor, DAVID DANIELS
Ariel soprano, DANIELLE de NIESE
Sycorax mezzo, SUSAN GRAHAM
Caliban bass-baritone, LUCA PISARONI
Miranda sop., ANDRIANA CHUCHMAN
Helena soprano, JANAI BRUGGER
Hermia  mezzo, ELIZABETH DeSHONG
Demetrius tenor, ANDREW STENSON
Lysander baritone, NICHOLAS PALLESEN
Neptune tenor, PLÁCIDO DOMINGO
Ferdinand countertenor, ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO
Quartet soprano, JIHEE KIM
  soprano, MONICA YUNUS
  tenor, NORMAN SHANKLE
  bass-bar., TYLER SIMPSON

Conducted by PATRICK SUMMERS

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

Production: Phelim McDermott
Associate director and set designer:
    Julian Crouch
Costume designer: Kevin Pollard
Lighting designer: Brian MacDevitt
Animation and projection design:
    Fifty Nine Productions
Choreographer: Graciela Daniele
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Steven Eldredge,
    Derrick Inouye, Carol Isaac,
    Bradley Brookshire
Assistant stage directors: Sarah Ina Meyers,
    Kathleen Smith Belcher
Harpsichord continuo: Bradley Brookshire
Cello continuo: David Heiss
English coach: Erie Mills
Prompter: Carol Isaac

Production a gift of Dr. David G. Knott and
    Ms. Françoise Girard

Major funding from Rolex

Additional funding from The Annenberg
    Foundation, the Edgar Foster
    Daniels Foundation, Mr. and Mrs.
    William R. Miller, American Express,
    and the National Endowment for the Arts
    Revival a gift of The NPD Group, Inc.
THE SCENES    Timings
  (A remote island)   
ACT I   12:00–1:37
    Sc. 1 Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 2 Sycorax's cave; Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 3 Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 4 Near Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 5 A ship out at sea  
    Sc. 6 The seashore  
    Sc. 7 The forest near Sycorax's cave;
a golden strand
 
    Sc. 8 Outside Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 9 A golden strand near Prospero's cell  
    Sc. 10 An enchanted grove  
    Sc. 11 Act I finale: Neptune's realm  
ACT II   2:05–3:30
    Sc. 1 The shore; Sycorax's side of the island;
the shore; outside Prospero's cell
 
    Sc. 2 Outside Prospero's cell; near Sycorax's cave;
outside Prospero's cell; the Masque;
Ferdinand's ship
 
    Sc. 3 Lover's maze in a forest  
    Sc. 4 Act II finale: the shore  

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel,
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park

For more information on the broadcasts,
    please visit www.operainfo.org.

Send quiz questions to:
    Metropolitan Opera Quiz
    Metropolitan Opera
    30 Lincoln Center
    New York, NY 10023
    or e-mail metquiz@metopera.org.

This performance is also being broadcast live
    on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM
    channel 74.

THE STORY  

ACT I. Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, lives on a remote island with his daughter, Miranda, surrounded by books, potions and instruments of magic. Prospero, having once taken up with the sorceress Sycorax, who ruled the island, loved her and left her, banishing her to the dark side of the island, stealing her sprite servant, Ariel, and enslaving her son, Caliban.

The story begins some sixteen years later, as an aging Prospero conceives a final plan to ensure Miranda's future happiness and end his exile. He divines that a ship is passing nearby, bearing the King of Naples and Prince Ferdinand, whom Prospero has destined for Miranda. Prospero commands Ariel to cast a spell that will conjure a storm and shipwreck the royals on the island. In return, he promises Ariel his freedom.

Caliban, who has overheard their conversation, rushes to tell Sycorax. Sensing that Prospero is vulnerable, Sycorax tells Caliban to steal a vial of dragon's blood from Prospero's cell, which she will use to restore her enfeebled powers, so she and Caliban can regain control of the island.

Prospero finds Miranda troubled by dreams and unfamiliar emotions. Meanwhile, Caliban steals the vial, vowing that he will rule the island with Miranda as his queen. He substitutes another vial of worthless lizard's blood. Ariel mistakenly uses this for the Tempest Spell, with catastrophic consequences: two pairs of honeymooning lovers — Helena and Demetrius, Hermia and Lysander — are shipwrecked and separately cast ashore on the island.

Prospero now commands Ariel to find Prince Ferdinand and cast a spell on him to ensure that Ferdinand and Miranda will fall in love immediately. But the first man Ariel sees is Demetrius, not Ferdinand. Ariel dutifully casts the spell on him and leads him to Miranda. The two fall in love, much to Prospero's fury.

Meanwhile, Lysander has come ashore, cursing Neptune for, as he thinks, washing his beloved Hermia out to sea. Ariel wrongly assumes that he has finally found Ferdinand and casts the spell to make Miranda and Lysander fall in love, much to Demetrius's fury.

On the other side of the island, an exhausted Helena arrives, observed by Sycorax, who decides she will give Helena to Caliban as his queen instead of Miranda, the daughter of her enemy. Using the stolen vial, Sycorax conjures a spell to make Helena fall in love with Caliban — much to his delight — and hopes the spell is strong enough to last.

Ariel, having cast a spell on the wrong man twice, realizes that the true Ferdinand must still be somewhere out at sea. Deciding to go to the very top, he calls upon Neptune for help. The sea god appears, furious that a human, Lysander, has been cursing him and angry that Ariel has disturbed his peace. Ariel begs Neptune to find Ferdinand, and Neptune finally agrees to scour the seas.

Prospero, observing the chaos he has wrought — lovers mismatched, Ariel frantic, Caliban running wild and Ferdinand nowhere in sight — despairs of ever achieving his dream.

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Ariel enters Neptune's underwater realm (de Niese, Domingo)
© Johan Elbers 2014

ACT II. Hermia awakens from a nightmare, only to realize that her dream was all too true: her new husband, Lysander, was swept away from her in the storm. She runs off to find him and discovers him doting on Miranda — with no memory of his wife.

Sycorax, meanwhile, exults in her revived powers and the certainty that she will soon have her revenge on Prospero and regain control of the island for her son.

Hermia is reunited with Helena. Helena's memory and emotions have been stirred by the sight of Demetrius, despite the fact that he is with Miranda and fails to recognize her. Hermia and Helena bemoan the fickleness of men. Helena then takes off after Demetrius, spurning Caliban, who is crushed. Caliban rushes to Sycorax for consolation, but she explains that hearts that love can always be broken.

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Portraits of Caliban (Luca Pisaroni), Hermia (Elizabeth DeShong), Ferdinand (Anthony Roth Costanzo) and Neptune (Plácido Domingo)
© Beatriz Schiller 2014 (Costanzo), © Johan Elbers 2014 (Pisaroni), © Beth Bergman 2014 (DeShong and Domingo)

Caliban, in his fury, steals a magic book from Prospero's cell and conjures a dream of himself as a potentate of the world, attended by loving subjects. When his fantasty spins out of control and the creatures turn on him, Prospero intervenes and disperses them.

Meanwhile, Neptune has found Ferdinand's ship and sent it racing toward the island. Ferdinand looks toward his future. Like Miranda, he has been dreaming of an elusive someone.

Ariel sets about putting matters to rights, leading the five mismatched lovers through a forest maze until they fall asleep side by side. Ariel's magic ensures that when they awaken, the lovers are paired with their proper and previous mates. The five make their way to the shore to see Ferdinand and the king arrive, greeted by Prospero. Ferdinand reads the pardon ending Prospero's exile. Seeing Miranda, he falls in love instantly, deeply and forever — without the aid of any spell.

Sycorax enters and challenges Prospero. When he rebuffs her, Neptune appears and takes her part, berating Prospero for victimizing others as he himself was once victimized. Ashamed, Prospero begs forgiveness of Sycorax and gives the island back to her and her son. Neptune extols the virtues of mercy, and Sycorax grants Prospero forgiveness. All join to celebrate a new day of joy, peace and love.

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David Daniels and Danielle de Niese,
Prospero and Ariel in The Enchanted Island
at the Met

© Johan Elbers 2014

THE BACKGROUND  

The practice of creating pasticcios — works devised by assembling previously composed pieces, often by more than one composer, into a "new" score — is almost as old as opera itself. In more recent years, pasticcio was less likely to be found in the opera house than on Broadway, which was the venue for such works as Crazy for You (1992), a revision of the 1930 Gershwin musical Girl Crazy that made liberal use of Gershwin songs from other shows, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002), an adaptation of a 1967 movie musical that combined new original music with songs from the film, as well as re-purposed tunes by Victor Herbert, Gilbert and Sullivan and Tchaikovsky.

The Met commissioned Jeremy Sams to create a new English-language libretto for The Enchanted Island, a pasticcio set to the music of several Baroque composers — among them Handel, Rameau, Purcell and Vivaldi. Sams's storyline for the new opera uses characters and situations from two Shakespeare plays, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Enchanted Island had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on December 31, 2011, with William Christie conducting. The production was directed and designed by the team of Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, who were responsible for the Met's production of Satyagraha. The cast was headed by Joyce DiDonato (Sycorax), David Daniels (Prospero), Plácido Domingo (Neptune), Luca Pisaroni (Caliban) and Danielle de Niese (Ariel).

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR

There are a number of general Baroque music histories that are useful guides to understanding the period and the practice of pastiche. Easily available, and clearly written, is Richard Taruskin's Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: The Oxford History of Western Music (Oxford).

The only recording of The Enchanted Island currently available is the DVD release of the Met's 2001 HD transmission, featuring the opera's original cast — a list that includes Danielle de Niese, Plácido Domingo, David Daniels, Luca Pisaroni and Anthony Roth Costanzo, all of whom will be in this season's revival of the pastiche. spacer

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Current Issue: December 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 6