1 Dec 2019

BRITTEN: A Midsummer Night's Dream

From Opera on Sunday, 6:00 pm on 1 December 2019

An amusing, light, poetic and psychological masterpiece, based on Shakespeare.

A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream at Vienna State Opera

A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream at Vienna State Opera Photo: Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn

BRITTEN: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Sunday 1 December 2019 at 6.00pm on RNZ Concert


Lawrence Zazzo (Oberon), Erin Morley (Tytania), Théo Touvet (Puck), Peter Kellner (Theseus), Szilvia Vöröros (Hippolyta), Josh Lovell (tenor), Rafael Fingerlos (Demetrius), Rachel Frenkel (Hermia), Valentina Nafornita (Helena), Peter Rose (Bottom), Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Vienna State Opera Chorus & Orchestra conducted by Simone Young

With the world première in 1960 to mark the reopening of Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall, Benjamin Britten also fulfilled his wish to set a Shakespeare play.

He composed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in just seven months, working with his partner Peter Pears to cut the piece down to three acts, although the libretto follows the original closely.

It’s become one of Britten’s most performed music theatre works - an amusing, light, poetic and psychological masterpiece.

The conductor in this performance is the Australian Simone Young, who has been closely connected to Wiener Staatsoper since her début in 1993 with La Bohème. She says, “there’s a common thread running through the piece, and that’s magic. You come up repeatedly against the magical motif, expressed through glissandi in the low strings. To me, it sounds like a big tree which is twisting in the wind. […] These natural sounds are also part of Britten’s world, or more precisely, Britten’s world around three in the morning, between dream and nightmare. These sounds constantly recur in the opera, setting a reference point.”

Synopsis of A Midsummer Night's Dream


Summary of Shakespeare's play

Publisher's Notes

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