Benjamin Britten’s musical transformation of Shakespeare’s most loved comedy is something of a miracle: apart from a single short sentence, every word is that of England’s finest poet; every fibre and comic nuance of the play is preserved.
And while a lesser composer might have merely adorned a masterpiece, he created a new one of his own: with its graceful haunting melodies, iridescent orchestration, headily perfumed harmony, and filigree-like vocal textures - there’s nothing in the repertoire like it.
Inspired singing and hilarity... a triumph!
Chicago Classical Review
Neil Armfield’s special affinity with Britten’s operas has been lauded worldwide. “Definitive” and “staggering” was the UK and US critical consensus for his multi-award-winning Billy Budd and audiences lucky enough to have experienced his Peter Grimes and TheTurn of the Screw rate them just as highly. Despite its proudly Australian creative team, this missing piece of the puzzle has been seen abroad but never at home.
Magical, otherworldly and playful, it bears all the hallmarks of his exceptional craft: drawing subtle and truthful comedic performances, letting his fairies rip as real kids and, in the finale, delivering a belly laugh-inducing riot.
We’ve endured a year like no other. Seize the chance to laugh and gasp with other human beings. Enter this blissful bubble and surrender to the trusted experts: Shakespeare, Britten and Armfield.
A fantastical soundworld that envelopes you in its glittering magic
Event additional information
A co-production of Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and Canadian Opera Company, presented by Adelaide Festival in association with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Composer Benjamin Britten Libretto Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears after Shakespeare
Directed by Neil Armfield Set and Costume Design Dale Ferguson Choreography/Associate Director Denni Sayers Lighting Damien Cooper
The Fairies Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Oberon Rachelle Durkin as Tytania
Mark Coles Smith as Puck
The Lovers Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Theseus Fiona Campbell as Hyppolita Andrew Goodwin as Lysander Sally-Anne Russell as Hermia James Clayton as Demetrius Leanne Kenneally as Helena
The Mechanicals Warwick Fyfe as Bottom Kanen Breen as Flute Douglas McNicol as Quince Pelham Andrews as Snug Norbert Hohl as Snout Jeremy Tatchell as Starveling
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Conductor Paul Kildea Associate Conductor Brett Weymark
Young Adelaide Voices Director Christie Anderson
The presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been made possible by the Adelaide Festival Chairman’s Circle, the Adelaide Festival Opera Donor Circle (Leading Patron Maureen Wheeler AO) and MM Electrical.
Sally-Anne Russell's and Teddy Tahu Rhodes' performances are supported by Peter McKee and Pamela McKee.