The MET’s stage is incredibly equipped and versatile and the designers clearly took advantage of The Enchanted Island’’s potential, with the grand entrance of Neptune. *Photo supplied by the MET
The MET’s stage is incredibly equipped and versatile and the designers clearly took advantage of The Enchanted Island’’s potential, with the grand entrance of Neptune. *Photo supplied by the MET
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FRIDAY, APR. 20: The MET Opera on Film presentation of The Enchanted Island was a feast for the eyes and ears.  As a lover of opera, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if a three-hour presentation of a recording of a live opera was how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

The Tradewinds Auditiorium at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) provided  comfortable seating which was important for such a long performance.

The Metropolitan Opera is renowned for its formidable production values, but it is remarkable how well this transferred to the film medium. The sound quality was excellent and the audience could almost feel they had been transported to the MET. This was evident in our temptation to applaud along with the live audience. 

The production, devised and written by Jeremy Sams, was a fascinating pastiche coupling Shakespeare’s wit with a score derived from the works of Baroque masters Handel, Vivaldi and Rameau. The story was set on the enchanted island from The Tempest, and the usual characters are joined by the four lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, who are shipwrecked on the island as they begin their honeymoon. This leads to a delightful comedy of errors as the two combine. Ariel, seeking the young Ferdinand to wed Miranda, mistakes the identities of Demetrius and subsequently Lysander so that they fall in love with the first young maiden they meet and the usual absurdity ensues...

The Metropolitan Opera House stage is incredibly well equipped and versatile, and the designers clearly took advantage of its potential with the grand entrance of Neptune (Placido Domingo) featuring beautiful visual effects projected on screen, floating mermaids, and gorgeous costume. 

Of particular note in this production was the energy and powerful pipes of Danielle de Niese as Ariel. She lit up the stage with her cheeky character and vivacity and her clear voice resounded through the house.

David Daniels as Prospero delivered an effortless and captivating countertenor with amazing stamina. It was unusual to see such an earthy, fatherly character singing arias that were famously sung in Handel’s day by castrati, but it was enthralling despite the possible incongruity between sound and sight.

The Gilbert and Sullivan Society will continue to bring this season’s great opera performances to Bermuda in HD, the next of which will be Puccini’s Madame Butterfly on April 28, followed by Verdi’s La Traviata on May 12.

In future, G&S might consider the provision of some light refreshments during the interval as a perfect complement to a lovely late afternoon at the opera.

It would top off the experience and ease the rumbling tummies before they head off to enjoy a 10 per  cent discount with ticket stub at the Harbourfront Restaurant downstairs following the performance.