The Tempest features music director JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony Chorus and the Virginia Stage Company, with adaptation and stage direction by Patrick Mullins.
There are many who consider William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to be one of his greatest works. And many proclaim Jean Sibelius’ incidental music to The Tempest to be among his greatest achievements. Coincidentally, 2016 marks milestones of sorts for both of these geniuses – the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’ birth, and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. How fitting that the premiere works of these two masters will share the stage in a lavish new staging as part of the 2016 Virginia Arts Festival.
The Tempest will be performed at Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall on Saturday, April 16th at 8pm, and Sunday, April 17th at 2pm.
No reading of The Tempest can do it justice. Shakespeare’s tale of Prospero’s island is inherently theatrical, unfolding in a series of spectacles, and was created by Shakespeare as a multi-sensory theater experience of sight and sound. The richness of The Tempest as theater is matched by the extraordinary thematic complexity of its text, which plays on the polarities of reality and illusion, nature and civilization, revenge and forgiveness. Sibelius’ incidental music is said to display an astounding richness of imagination and inventive capacity. Sibelius represents individual characters through instrumentation choices: particularly admired was his use of harps and percussion to represent Prospero.
This new production, adapted by and under the direction of Virginia Stage Company’s Interim Artistic Director Patrick Mullins, will feature an innovative staging concept with members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on stage, and elements of puppetry adding to the production’s spectacle and mystery.