The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0738 Friday, 25 August 2006
Date: Thursday, 24 Aug 2006 16:12:50 -0400
Subject: 17.0735 Ades/Oakes Operatic Version of "The Tempest"
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0735 Ades/Oakes Operatic Version of "The Tempest"
In 1781 Nahum Tate replaced the play "King Lear" with an adaptation
called "History of King Lear". This version made vast changes in the
plot that included a happy ending.
Most current commentators have condemned this version as a travesty but
for many years it was the most successful play on the English Stage.
My vote would be cast along with Shelley who called "King Lear", "the
most perfect specimen of dramatic poetry existing in the world".
It seems that the Ades/Oakes operatic version of Shakespeare's "Tempest"
is following in the missteps of Tate. It is changing the plot of one of
the world's great dramatic masterpieces to make it politically correct.
It appears to be turning upside down all of Shakespeare's symbolism and
use of ancient Roman and Greek mythology to make the audience jolly. The
"Tempest" is a great quest. It is Gilgamesh, Ulysses, Virgil's "Aeneas"
and Dante's "Divine Comedy".
Caliban is not the hero of the play. He is the beastlike monster, who
wanted to rape Miranda, and who is in the direct descent of the vicious
revengeful boar that killed Adonis in the long poem "Venus and Adonis".
Prospero is not Macbeth, Leontes, Richard III or any other villain. .He
has many of the characteristics of Malcolm, Fortinbras, Edgar and the
Duke in "Measure For Measure" and with his magic staff has avoided all
the tragic consequences the evil plot against him and his daughter.
Ades/Oakes should read all 524 pages of Ted Hughes' "Shakespeare and the
Goddess of Complete Being" and then perhaps they will be inspired to
write an opera that approaches the masterpiece that we call the "Tempest".
Elliott H. Stone
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