Metropolitan Opera: Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel
After the acclaimed Met premiere of Thomas Adès’s “The Tempest” in 2012, the composer returned with another masterpiece, this time inspired by filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s seminal surrealist classic “El Ángel Exterminador”, during the 2017–18 season. As the opera opens, a group of elegant socialites gather for a lavish dinner party, but when it is time to leave for the night, no one is able to escape. Soon, their behavior becomes increasingly erratic and savage. The large ensemble cast tackles both the vocal and dramatic demands of Adès’s opera with one riveting performance after another. Tom Cairns, who also penned the work’s libretto, directs an engrossing and inventive production, using a towering wooden archway to trap the characters onstage. And Adès himself takes the podium to conduct the frenzied score, which features a host of unconventional instruments, including the eerie electronic ondes Martenot.