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Thomas Adès and Meredith Oakes: The Tempest

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This article analyses the opera The Tempest, composed by Thomas Adès to a text written for him by Meredith Oakes (after Shakespeare); it was first staged at The Royal Opera House in London in 2004. The text is first examined for its relationship with Shakespeare’s original play; the plot, cuts, transpositions and significant additions are all examined; then the relationship between the dramatic themes of the opera and those of the source text, and the ways in which direct quotations from Shakespeare are used and reworked, are also considered. In these last two sections the music of the opera begins to feature in the analysis, and text and music are examined as an integrated whole in the sections that follow, which discuss in turn the four principal characters Prospero, Caliban, Miranda and Ariel. Two closing sections consider aspects of the structure and style of the music that have not been explored earlier in the article. There are numerous quotations from the libretto, three plates and five music examples.
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Keywords: Ariel; Caliban; Meredith Oakes; Miranda; Prospero; Shakespeare in opera; The Tempest; Thomas Adès

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Newcastle, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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