Before the opera begins
Prospero was Duke of Milan. His Dukedom was stolen by his brother Antonio, aided by the King of Naples, Alonso. Prospero, with his infant daughter Miranda, escaped to an island where he has been living ever since. Using his magical powers he has enslaved Caliban, the island’s only inhabitant, and a local spirit Ariel.
The dream begins with the gentle lap of surf.
Prospero conjures up a violent storm to batter the nearby ship carrying the people who betrayed him.
Prospero’s brother, Antonio, is attended by his councillor Gonzalo, his jester Trinculo and his butler Stephano. Alonso, King of Naples, is attended by his son Ferdinand and his brother Sebastian.
The ship splits into pieces.
Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, has been watching the ship in peril and is distraught at the thought of lost lives.
Her father reassures her: all will be well. He explains how they escaped when his Dukedom was stolen by his brother. They were pushed out into the unknown…
It is Prospero’s servant spirit Ariel who has executed the order to wreck the ship. Ariel explains the ship’s passengers are dispersed across the island. Prospero conspires to split up the seven men and promises Ariel that he will soon be freed.
Prospero and Miranda visit Caliban, the island’s sole native inhabitant.
Four of the seven passengers find themselves washed up together: Alonso the King of Naples, his brother Sebastian, the Duke of Milan, Antonio, and his councillor Gonzalo.
Alonso is worried about what his missing son, Ferdinand.
Ariel, invisible to the mortals, sends them to sleep.
The Duke of Milan persuades Sebastian to kill his brother the King of Naples but Ariel intervenes. Sebastian and Antonio pretend their swords were drawn to defend the others.
Miranda, who has never before encountered a young man, sees Ferdinand from a distance. They meet and immediately fall in love.
Spirit voices sing.
Scene 5 Another part of the island
Caliban is terrified of Trinculo the jester and hides under his cloak. Trinculo crawls under the cloak with Caliban.
Trinculo’s drunk friend, Stephano the butler, was washed up on shore with a barrel of wine. Seeing Caliban and Trinculo under the cloak, he thinks it is a monster.
Stephano pours wine into Caliban’s mouth who quickly becomes drunk and offers to serve Stephano as a slave.
Scene 6 Another part of the island
Ferdinand is mesmerised by Miranda. Prospero blesses their union.
Caliban is still drunk and tells Stephano how his island is ruled by a magician, Prospero, who has cheated him of his island.
Ariel persuades Stephano to kill Prospero, take Miranda as his wife and rule the island. A hectic happy atmosphere is interrupted by awful spirit voices. Caliban reassures them: the island is full of noises.
The search for Ferdinand has exhausted Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio and Gonzalo. There is a banquet and Ariel announces that Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio are wicked for stealing Prospero’s birth right.
Prospero has his enemies in his power.
Prospero prepares Ferdinand and Miranda for their marriage. He takes them on a magic carpet to their future wedding in Naples.
Ariel has led Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo into a filthy pond but spirits chase them out. Prospero sends Ariel to punish them.
Prospero’s plans are coming together: the nobles are now all his prisoners. However, he tells Ariel to release them as he plans to give up his magic.
Prospero summons everyone. They are astonished to be told that they are forgiven for their treachery. Ariel will soon be freed.
He shows Alonso his son, Ferdinand, playing chess with Miranda.
They sing about adventures and the power of dreams.
They will all sail back to Naples.
Prospero asks the audience for forgiveness.
Spirit voices sing and the opera ends, as it began, with the sound of surf.