Der Sturm (“The Tempest”) is a magical comedy numbering among Martin’s most important and creative compositions. He worked on it for three years before it premiered in 1956 at the Vienna State Opera (with Eberhard Wächter, Anton Dermota and Christa Ludwig in the main roles). Martin was a great admirer of the literary quality of August Wilhelm von Schlegel’s bold yet faithful German translation of Shakespeare, which became the libretto for his Sturm.
There are two versions of The Tempest. The original one has the figure of Ariel choreographed whereas the text is sung from behind the wings by a chorus. Frank Martin then decided to entrust the dancer with the text which has to be spoken in keeping with the music - in other words, one needs a dancer with exceptional musical talents.