The Enchanted Island
an unabashed extravaganza, both musically and visually
After several successful collaborations at the Met with director Phelim McDermott and designer/director Julian Crouch (both of Improbable Theatre Company), 59 has joined with them once again to create the hugely ambitious projection for this new Met commission which opens on the eve of New Year 2012.
In one extraordinary new work, lovers of Baroque opera have it all: the world’s best singers, glorious music of the Baroque masters, and a story drawn from Shakespeare. In The Enchanted Island, the lovers from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are shipwrecked on his other-worldly island of The Tempest. Inspired by the musical pastiches and masques of the 18th century, the work showcases arias and ensembles by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, and a new libretto by Jeremy Sams. Eminent conductor William Christie leads an all-star cast with David Daniels (Prospero) and Joyce DiDonato (Sycorax) as the formidable foes, Plácido Domingo as Neptune, Danielle de Niese as Ariel, and Luca Pisaroni as Caliban. Lisette Oropesa and Anthony Roth Costanzo play Miranda and Ferdinand. The dazzling production is directed and designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Satyagraha and the Met’s 125 anniversary gala) with animation and projection design from Fifty Nine Productions.
Read about the production in the New York Times.
“Dazzling…the set inventively combines traditional scenery flats with sophisticated videos. When we first see the ship, it rocks gently atop waves created by old-fashioned cutout boards that lift and dip. But when the storm breaks, frightening video images (created by 59 Productions) evoke swelling seas, hail and wind as the ship goes down.”
“A triumph…The physical production… is sumptuous…”The Enchanted Island” is an unabashed extravaganza, both musically and visually.”
“The Enchanted Island,” which had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on New Year’s Eve with an all-star cast, is irresistibly entertaining. It’s a light-hearted romp with enough fizz to send a dozen Champagne corks popping…To bring their creation to life on stage, the Met wisely hired Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch to design and direct the production, Kevin Pollard to do the costumes, and a company called 59 Productions to provide animation and projections. Their inspired work on Philip Glass’ “Satyagraha” was on view earlier this season, and they have again done wonders, creating eye-popping magical effects with the humblest of means.”
“After the overture to Handel’s Alcina, the curtain rises on what looks like a charming, razzle-dazzly variation on an antique toy-theater. Julian Crouch, the ingenious designer, depicts the bookish domain of Prospero at stage right, counterbalanced by Sycorax’s gnarled and dismal dwelling at stage left. An ornate circular frame in the middle serves as stage within this stage, showcasing a series of aquatic tableaux-quasi-vivants plus fantastic video projections and cartoon animations created by the 59 Productions collective.”
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