Metropolitan Opera: The Enchanted Island

Airs Saturday, January 21 at 12:00 noon.  The 2011-2012 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with a live broadcast of The Enchanted Island, a world premiere opera written and devised by Jeremy Sams that sets music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and other composers of the Baroque era to a new, English-language libretto. Early music specialist William Christie conducts an extraordinary cast, in a story drawn from William Shakespeare’s plays The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Joyce DiDonato stars as the sorceress Sycorax and David Daniels is her foe, the sorcerer Prospero; Plácido Domingo, on his 71st birthday, sings the role of Neptune, god of the seas; Danielle de Niese as the spirit Ariel; and Luca Pisaroni as Sycorax’s son, the wildman Caliban.  The innovative stage production is by director Phelim McDermott, with associate director and set designerJulian Crouch. The Enchanted Island will be heard live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network at 12:oo noon CST on Saturday, January 21.

The Enchanted Island is the Met’s contemporary take on the 18th-century tradition of operatic “pasticcios” (pastiches), in which music from various existing compositions was combined with a fresh libretto to create a new theatrical work. The tradition was particularly popular in London, where Handel was a prominent practitioner. The score for The Enchanted Island is pulled from a variety of Baroque operas, cantatas, and oratorios, including some by composers whose work has never been heard at the Met, such as Campra, Leclair, and Ferrandini.

The intermission will include backstage interviews with the stars, led by soprano Deborah Voigt, who hosts the HD transmission of the performance.