Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Thoughts on The Tempest

“The Tempest” was the first opera I ever watched in person. Previously, I’ve only listened to famous arias from different operas, such as “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot. However, listening to an opera is only half the experience. This became more evident after I watched “The Tempest” live. The set construction was very impressive. The set appealed to me right away as the opera began with a storm scene. I found it fascinating how the producers were able to make the stage look like water. People seemed to pop out of the water-like stage whenever the light was placed on them. The clothing the characters wore was also very well made. However, it was hard to see the fine details of the clothing live because we sat at the top. The opera singers were also great, especially Ariel. Even though I couldn’t understand much of what she said, I appreciated her singing.

Although the set was constructed very nicely, I felt like it didn’t make sense. In the last scene, the set contained a stage to the left and a portion of an opera house to the right. It felt weird to be in an opera house and then to watch an opera whose setting is in an opera house. I didn’t understand how this set was relevant to the plot since they are on an island, not in an opera house. Perhaps Prospero recreated such structures with magic since he was homesick, but it still feels out of place.

I also noticed how the plot in the opera is a bit different from Shakespeare’s original piece. In the original play, Prospero is shown as a powerful figure with more control. For example, in the play, it is his plan to make Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love. In the opera, he looks defeated when Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love because it wasn’t a part of his plans. In terms of plot, I didn’t like the end of the opera. Caliban is portrayed as the victor since he now owns the whole island. I didn’t like this because throughout the opera, he is an evil character, and it doesn’t feel right for him to be a “winner” at the end.

Overall, I liked this opera, but it is hard for me to judge it since I haven’t watched many operas and so I have little to compare it to.


On a slightly unrelated note, I hope everyone is safe after our own tempest.


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