by Daniel Hathaway
With apologies to Sir Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, it was a dark and stormy morning at Severance Music Center on March 31, when guest conductor Thomas Adès led The Cleveland Orchestra in a pair of striking atmospheric disturbances, one of his own composition (in The Tempest Symphony), and one by Jean Sibelius (from The Tempest, Op. 109), both originally imagined by William Shakespeare in his play of the same name.
Listed in the First Folio as the first of his comedies, Shakespeare’s magical allegory has recently spurred the invention of a new critical category: romances, although no attempt to file the work under a single heading — or to simplify its plot — has been successful.
Sibelius wrote his incidental music to The Tempest in 1925 on commission from the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen for a lavish production that required 34 separate musical cues. Adès extracted the movements of his symphony from the opera he wrote for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, that debuted in 2004. [Read more…]