Operatic adaptation of The Tempest by Dryden, Davenant and Shadwell, 1674


British theatres reopened in 1660, after an 18 year closure while the country was under Puritan rule. At the Duke’s Theatre, manager William Davenant introduced painted scenery and rewrote a number of Shakespeare’s plays with the emphasis on scenic spectacle.

Davenant’s adaptation of The Tempest, written with John Dryden, became the most successful show of its age, helped along by composer Thomas Shadwell’s ‘operatic’ embellishments of 1674. The resulting musical comedy, called The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island, featured new characters and elaborate special effects: stage directions here include an aerial ballet and a shower of fire.

Full title:
The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island. A comedy. Altered by Dryden and Sir W. Davenant. The version arranged for an opera by T. Shadwell
1674, London
Book / Quarto
William Davenant, Thomas Shadwell, William Shakespeare, John Dryden
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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