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The “Irresistibly Entertaining” New Opera The Enchanted Island Comes to the Clark, Live From the Met

For Immediate Release

January 06, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—The Enchanted Island, a world-premiere work that combines Baroque music with a new, English-language libretto, comes to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Saturday, January 21 at 1:00 pm, live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera. This “irresistibly entertaining” production (Associated Press) combines the plots of two Shakespeare plays, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and features the music of Handel, Rameau, and Vivaldi, among many others. Tickets are $25 ($18 for members and students) and may be ordered online at clarkart.edu or by calling 413 458 0MET (458 0638). The box office will also be open one hour before the performance, and the doors will open at 12:30 pm.

Hailed as “a triumph… an unabashed extravaganza both musically and visually” (The Huffington Post), The Enchanted Island is devised and written by the acclaimed British theater artist Jeremy Sams and conducted by renowned Baroque specialist William Christie. In Sams’s English-language libretto, the bitter supernatural war between The Tempest’s Prospero and his nemesis, the sorceress Sycorax, is interrupted by a quartet of unexpected island visitors: the four lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, whose honeymoon cruise has ended in a shipwreck. The ensuing conflicts and romantic entanglements also involve Prospero’s daughter Miranda, Sycorax’s monstrous son Caliban, the shipwrecked prince Ferdinand, the air spirit Ariel, and Neptune, king of the undersea world.

This fantastical production by director Phelim McDermott and scenic designer Julian Crouch blends eighteenth-century theatrical techniques with advanced video projection designs. The cast includes a number of the world’s leading virtuoso singers. Joyce DiDonato stars as the sorceress Sycorax and David Daniels is her supernatural foe, the sorcerer Prospero; also featured are Plácido Domingo as Neptune, god of the seas; Danielle de Niese as the air spirit Ariel; Lisette Oropesa as Prospero’s daughter Miranda; Anthony Roth Costanzo as the shipwrecked prince Ferdinand; and Luca Pisaroni as Sycorax’s monstrous son Caliban.

The score for The Enchanted Island comprises selections from a variety of Baroque operas, cantatas, and oratorios, many of which are rarely performed in contemporary opera houses. The score includes music from many Handel works, specifically the operas Alcina, Amadigi di Gaula, Ariodante, Atalanta, Deidamia, Partenope, Semele, Tamerlano, and Teseo; the oratorios Hercules, Judas Maccabaeus, La Resurrezione, Susanna, and Il Trionfo del Tempo a del Disinganno; the cantatas “Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi” and “Notte placida e cheta”; the ode “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato”; and “Zadok the Priest,” one of the composer’s Four Coronation Anthems. The other works represented in The Enchanted Island are Vivaldi’s operas Argippo, Il Bajazet, Farnace,  Griselda, Tito Manlio, and La Verità in Cimento, his cantata “Cessate, omai cessate,” and his motet for contralto; Rameau’s operas Castor et Pollux, Hippolyte et Aricie, and Les Indes Galantes; Campra’s opera Idoménée; Ferrandini’s cantata “Il Pianto di Maria,” often attributed to Handel; and Leclair’s opera Scylla et Glaucus.

The Met: Live in HD 2011-2012 Season continues with Wagner’s Götterdämmerung on February 11; Verdi’s Ernani on February 25; Massenet’s Manon on April 7; and Verdi’s La Traviata on April 14. The Clark’s intimate auditorium is one of the best performance venues in the region, with comfortable seating and soaring acoustics. Tickets are $25 ($18 for members and students) and may be ordered online at clarkart.edu or by calling 413 458 0MET (458 0638).

The Clark

Set amidst 140 acres in the Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Together with Williams College, the Clark sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

Calendar Listing

January 21: The Enchanted Island, a world-premiere work that combines Baroque music with a new, English-language libretto, comes to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Saturday, January 21 at 1:00 pm, live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera. This “irresistibly entertaining” production (Associated Press) combines the plots of two Shakespeare plays, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and features the music of Handel, Rameau, and Vivaldi, among many others. Tickets are $25 ($18 for members and students) and may be ordered online at clarkart.edu or by calling 413 458 0MET (458 0638). The box office will also be open one hour before the performance, and the doors will open at 12:30 pm. The Clark, 225 South Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 413 458 2303, clarkart.edu.

Contact: 
pr@clarkart.edu

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