A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten

Tytania (Fréderique Drolet) and Oberon (Albert Montanez)

Benjamin Britten’s 1960 opera is completely faithful to the spirit of the original and must be counted as one of the most successful operatic adaptations of a Shakespeare play. It is possibly the most beguiling and enchanting of all Britten’s operas, a work with a spellbinding atmosphere that inhabits a truly unique dreamlike world, as the worlds of fairies, lovers and bad actors meet in the woods.  There are so many highlights of the opera: from Helena’s fight with her friend Hermia to the eerily-beautiful music of the fairies to the highlight of the work, which is the performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe” by the amateur actors, during which Britten hilariously lampoons every kind of opera from Rossini to Berg. Sung in English.

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music director: Gregory Myra
stage directors: David Mosey and Nina Scott-Stoddart
vocal coach: Lenard Whiting
stage manager: Fleurette Benoit
lighting design: Colin Richardson
choreographer: Andrew Pelrine
costumer: Victoria Bruer

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by BrittenFriday, August 3, 7:30 pm
Thursday, August 9, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 4, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 11, 2 pm
OberonAlbert Sanchez (Colombia)Andrew Pickett (NS)
TytaniaFrédérique Drolet (QC)Allison Nicholas (NL)
PuckSteven Bourque (NS)Allie MacDonald (NS)
LysanderPatrick MacDevitt (MI)Eric Thomson (IL)
HermiaNicole Stellino (ON)Shilpa Sharma (ON)
DemetriusNeil Reimer (BC)Conlan Gassi (ON)
HelenaChelsea Mahan (SK)Ashley Buckhout (MA)
BottomJeremy Hirsch (CA)Lukus Uhlman (NS)
QuinceAlexander Wilson (MI)Peter Bass (ON)
FluteMax Zander (NY)Patrick MacDevitt (MI)
SnugAndrew Hernandez (CA)Andrew Hernandez (CA)
SnoutWilliam Ford (ON)Daniel Wheeler (NS)
StarvelingNicholas Borg (ON)Steven Griffin (NS)
TheseusLukus Uhlman (NS)Jeremy Hirsch (CA)
HippolytaCaroline Gélinas (QC)Nicole Stellino (ON)
CobwebKatherine Richard (ON)Joelle Lehoux (ON)
MustardseedSabrina Romero (CA)Kelsey Downer (NL)
PeaseblossomMilena Bolaños (ON)Margaret Gandle (MA)
MothLauren Harmon (NV)Lauren Bryant-Monk (ON)

Synopsis

Libretto adapted by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears from Shakespeare

As twilight falls, fairies attendant upon their queen Tytania enter, followed by Puck, spirit attendant on the fairy-king, Oberon. Soon the royal pair arrives, separately, having fallen out. They argue, then Tytania and her fairies leave. Oberon sends Puck to find for him a certain herb that causes those upon whose sleeping eyelids the juice is dropped to fall in love with the next live creature that he or she sees. Next enter lovers Lysander and Hermia, forbidden by Athenian law to marry (she must wed Demetrius) and so fleeing the city together. They leave as Oberon enters to observe a second Athenian couple, Demetrius (in love with Hermia) pursued by Helena (in love with Demetrius). As they move off Puck returns with the herb, and Oberon instructs him to seek out an Athenian (meaning Demetrius) and anoint his eyes so as to make him fall in love with Helena. Next, a group of Athenian workmen enters, intent on casting a play they hope to perform before Duke Theseus. Most prominent among them is Bottom, cast as Pyramus in Pyramus and Thisbe. They agree to return later to rehearse. Now the mix-ups begin: Puck anoints Lysander’s eyes, causing him to transfer his allegiance to Helena, while Oberon anoints Tytania’s, causing her to fall in love with Bottom, whom Puck has mischievously given an ass’s head. The four Athenians are hurled into violent discord, till Puck sends them to sleep and they wake up cured. Bottom too is eventually restored, Oberon and Tytania make their peace, and following the successful performance of Pyramus and Thisbe before his guests (whom we met earlier in the wood), they bless Theseus and his wife Hippolyta, and their house.

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