A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sat, 22. Feb 2020, 19:30
Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)
Scarcely any other work of world literature breathes music in the same manner as William Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. Elves dance through the night in the summery enchanted forest and sing the fairy queen Titania to sleep. Music accompanies the wedding celebration of the royal couple Hippolyta and Theseus, as well as the young lovers Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius – when they have finally found each other in the midsummer's night after an erotic cycle of desire and disappointment, of confusion and disarray. And music rings out in the crassly humourous game in the play “Pyramus and Thisbe”, performed by six "highly skilled" craftsmen.
A Midsummer Night's Dream has inspired musicians for centuries. Yet the work only became a permanently successful opera a good 360 years after it debuted on stage, with Britten's musical version that debuted in 1960. He had arranged the original text by Shakespeare and scored it as a light, fairy tale-like and frequently witty masterwork with references to opera history.
Donald Runnicles is now continuing his Britten cycle at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. It is staged by young American director Ted Huffman, who after a series of directorial works in France recently made a name for himself in the German-speaking world with his staging of Händel's RINALDO in Frankurt, MADAMA BUTTERFLY at the Opernhaus Zurich, and SALOME at the Oper Köln.
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears after William Shakespeare's Comedy
First performed on 11 June, 1960 at the Aldeburgh Festival
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 26 January 2020
Recommended from 14 years on