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2009, Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw, The Tempest

The Tempest

Composer : Thomas Adès
Librettist : Meredith Oakes
Venue and Dates : Large Hall, Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
16 May 2009 14.00
Concert performance
Conductor : Markus Stenz
Performers :

Miranda: Patricia Risley
Prospero: Simon Keenlyside
Ariel: Cyndia Sieden
William Ferguson, tenor
Greg Warren, tenor
Simon Kirkbride, baritone
David Hansen, countertenor
Philip Sheffield, tenor
Mark Stone,  baritone
Quentin Hayes, bariton
Stuart Kale, tenor
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
Groot Omroepkoor

Notes : The Royal Opera House has produced a short video clip of Simon and Cyndia
Sieden in this production in 2004. See Video Clips


Eric Voermans, Parool.nl

Translated by Petra Habeth


Thomas Adès , what a genius!

Thomas Adès (39) is the most successful young British composer of the 21st century. Very helpful to him was the support of conductor Simon Rattle, who not only commissioned and performed a  piece from him whilst still music director  in Birmingham, but also took it to Berlin, for his inaugural concert as a music director of the local Philharmoniker. In both cities the orchestral work, entitled Asyla, was an indisputable success..

But one doesn’t reach such a position in the musical world just through the support of a person of high standing. And Adès, as well as a conductor, has proved himself also as a pianist and conductor to be one of the greatest talents of his generation.

In 1995, aged 25, he wrote his first opera, Powder Her Face, which already has been performed all over the world. A commission to compose from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden followed, and Adès, not afraid of the devil and his old mother, took for his second opera “The tempest” of Shakespeare, and let librettist Meredith Oakes make a contemporary text. The piece premiered with great success in London in 2004 and a production in New York in the 2012/2013 season has also been announced.

This weekend the Dutch premiere of The Tempest took place in – where else? – the Saturday matinee, in a  formidable performance by the Radio Philharmonic orchestra and the large broadcasting chorus, under the baton of Markus Stenz, and top soloists, of whom a number had previously taken part in the Covent Garden performances.

Baritone Simon Keenlyside and soprano Cyndia Sieden stole the hearts of the people present – Keenlyside with a monumental, lyric interpretation of the role of Prospero and Sieden as the spirit Ariel, whose part lies continuously in stratospheric heights. Her aria Five Fathoms Deep was the absolute peak of the afternoon. The other roles were also all well filled.

Adès made a deep impression with an intriguing mixture of cliché-less sonority, intelligent transparency and orchestral contributions which heated the drama in an entertaining way. What a genius!

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