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News and Media

Oberlin Alum Alek Shrader makes Metropolitan Opera Debut

Nov. 08, 2012

Emily Pergine '14 and Logan Buckley '14

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

OBERLIN, OH (November 7, 2012)—Tenor and Oberlin alum Alek Shrader ’07 is performing the lead role of Ferdinand in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Thomas Ades’ The Tempest, conducted by the composer himself, through November 17.

The performance run is the Metropolitan Opera debut for both Mr. Shrader and the 41-year-old Mr. Ades, who is often called the most important British composer since Benjamin Britten. An adventurous new production by visionary director Robert LePage, Anthony Tommassini of The New York Times calls the opera “one of the most inspired, audacious and personal operas to have come along in years.”

Mr. Shrader’s involvement with the Metropolitan Opera began in 2007, when he was selected as one of six finalists out of 1,500 participants in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Editions. He made his domestic mainstage debut in 2008 with the San Fransicso Opera’s performance of L’Eliser d’Amor, where his performance was described as “natural and effortless.” His European debut came with the 2009/2010 season performance of Die Zauberflöte with the Grande Theatre de Bordeaux, and he has since performed in numerous shows with companies that include the Opera Theater of St. Louis, the Sante Fe Opera, and the Bavarian State Opera, as well as concert appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and St. Louis Symphony. Mr Shrader will return to the Met later this season in the role of Almaviva in The Barber of Seville.

During his time at Oberlin, Mr. Schrader worked with professor of voice Salvatore Champagne, who said he “knew it wouldn’t be long before [Alek] returned to the Met as a full-fledged leading artist” following Mr. Shrader’s win in the Met Council Auditions in 2007. Mr. Champagne went on to say that Mr. Shrader’s “expert vocalism and superb musicianship will serve the Met well and represent what the Conservatory’s vocal studies division has to offer.”

By all accounts Mr. Schrader enjoyed a successful opening in his Met debut, being described as “appealing” and “sweet-voiced” by The New York Times and “a gifted young tenor” by The Washington Post. Heidi Waleson of The Wall Street Journal describes Mr. Shrader’s performance as “bright” and writes that Mr. LaPage’s concept is “consistently illuminating, witty and a match for the music from the very first moment.”

The Wall Street Journal called The Tempest, based on Shakespeare’s play, “one of the most compelling new works of recent years.” Since its debut in 2004, it has been produced four times, in what the New York Times calls “almost unheard-of success for an unabashedly contemporary opera.” Tom Service writes in The Guardian “The Tempest is among the most important and successful operas of the 21st century, and in this production, it's revealed to its full potential.”

The Tempest will be broadcast live as part of The Met: Live in HD series in 1900 movie theaters in more than 60 countries on Saturday, November 10 at 12:55 pm. To find a local theater playing the broadcast, please visit

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