In 2011 Jeremy Sams cobbled together (otherwise known as a pastiche) this opera. In the C18 it was perfectly OK to use any musician's music you want, change arias to suit the singers and use any available stories you wish. Jeremy in this case used the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell and others. The libretto is inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest and A Midsummers Night's Dream.
The story? Very complicated. Here is a nutshell version. Prospero banishes Sycorax, his discarded lover, to the dark side of an island. Magic is involved and spells are woven, but potions get mixed up and a storm brings a lot of people to the island. All the wrong people fall in love with each other. The spell weaver is in trouble with her boss [her father] so she calls on Neptune to give her the power to fix the mess. He lies, said he has lost his power (sort of like the wizard of Oz), but later he says OK, and then he does. In the end you will think the whole thing is much ado about nothing, but on the opening night, New Year's Eve 2011, the audience loved it.
People are under the influence of love juice (which is really dragon's blood) and the Gods of love plays tricks on the mere mortals in this fantastic, fantasy with a hugh caste of dancers and singers.
If you like counter tenors (some refer to the sound as an old woman with a cracked voice), David Daniels as Prospero may appeal (he is really the Duke of Milano), but Lisette Oropesa gives an outstanding performance as Miranda (Prospero's daughter). Meanwhile Placido Domingo (playing Neptune) conducts a singing lesson for the entire cast. Now over 70 he hasn't lost his magic and is now singing as a baritone.
The lighting, scenery and special effects are remarkable. The costumes are over the top. The whole lavish production is over the top, but the attendance at the Met after the opening night was poor, so this pastiche may not survive the test of time. An extraordinary gamble with this type of genre may not be repeated. The romp took 3 long hours and one leaves the cinema with mixed feeling and very confused.
The first of the 2014-2015 of the Met. Operas start at the Dendy on Nov.1 with Verdi's Macbeth. 10 in the series, the last will be screened on July 4 2015, with the long awaited Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci (known in the trade as Cav. and Pag.). See you there.