NEW YORK – What do you get when the four young lovers from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” become stranded on Prospero’s island from the Bard’s “The Tempest”? A lot of fun, mayhem and magic in The Metropolitan Opera’s original creation “The Enchanted Island,” which had its world premiere Dec. 31 in New York.
The opera follows in the tradition of Baroque pastiche, combining music written by Handel, Vivaldi and others into a story devised by librettist Jeremy Sams.
At the season’s sold-out final show in New York on Jan. 30, the crowd was engaged by a production that combined the best of old-fashioned theatricality with the latest computer technology to create a fascinating spectacle. The audience cheered the performances of mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax; Anthony Roth Costanzo (filling in for an ill David Daniels) as Prospero and singing in falsetto the countertenor part; legendary tenor Placido Domingo as Neptune; bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as Caliban; and Danielle de Niese as Ariel in a coloratura soprano role. Sung in English, the opera conducted by William Christie is by turns dramatic and comedic.
From Feb. 11-17, “The Enchanted Island,” as recorded Jan. 21 at the Met, with Daniels as Prospero, can be seen in select movie theaters in Japan (with Japanese subtitles) through the Met Live Viewing series. To watch the opera in high definition in the cinema is to see up close the acting of the singers and to view the magic created by director Phelim McDermott and associate director and set designer Julian Crouch, the team who worked on the Met’s production of “Satyagraha” this season. Live opera can’t be beat, but Met Live Viewing is a worthy alternative.
“The Enchanted Island” will be shown at 15 movie theaters in 13 cities across Japan from Feb. 11-17, shown once each day (¥3,500, times vary by venue). For more information, visit www.shochiku.co.jp/met/en.