Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten: Repertoire for 2012 Halifax Summer Opera Workshop

One of the three programmes to be presented at HSOW in 2012 will be Benjamin Britten’s great opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which premiered in 1960.

In August 1959, Britten decided to compose a full-evening opera for the reopening of the refurbished Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh in June 1960. As this left no time for a libretto to be prepared anew, he chose to adapt with Peter Pears Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though as he admitted at the time, he had always admired the original play and was excited by the various levels of action between the different groups of characters. As with The Turn of the Screw, these groups are characterised by strongly differentiated colours: the bright, percussive sounds of harps, keyboards and percussion for the fairy world, warm strings and wind for the the pairs of lovers, and lower woodwind and brass for the mechanicals. The 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.

Music Director:  Gregory Myra
Stage Directors:  Nina Scott-Stoddart and David Mosey
Vocal Coach:  TBA

For more information and cast lists, please see 2012 Workshop

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