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Pacific Opera Victoria presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream
April 14, 2016 - April 24, 2016
With music by Benjamin Britten and a libretto adapted by Britten and Peter Pears from the play by William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is theatre reborn as opera — Shakespeare’s most imaginative play, transformed into a topsy-turvy operatic fantasy that is at once otherworldly and hilariously down to earth.
A spat between the king and queen of fairies spills into the human realm, creating a tangle of misdirected spells and misplaced love affairs. Sweethearts fall in and out of love with neither rhyme or reason, bumbling rustics try their hands at amateur theatricals with side-splitting results, and the fairies spread accidental chaos far and wide. Nothing is what it seems in this enchanting collision of worlds, as fairies, country folk, and moonstruck young lovers spin through a single magical night.
The opera’s three intersecting worlds – Fairies, Human lovers, and Rustic tradesmen – provide plenty of scope for the imaginations of Stage Director Tom Diamond and Designer Judith Bowden, who in 2010 teamed up for POV’s Cinderella. They return to POV to prepare a whimsical production with a masterful cast.
In the roles of the Rustic tradesmen are Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott (POV’s Falstaff) as Bottom, Lawrence Wiliford (POV’s Albert Herring) as Flute, a role he has previously performed with the Canadian Opera Company, Bruce Kelly (POV’s Madama Butterfly) as Quince, and Giles Tomkins (POV’s The Barber of Seville) as Snug, with Andrew Erasmus (POV’s The Barber of Seville) as Starveling, and Kaden Forsberg (POV’s Mary’s Wedding school tour) as Snout.
Canadian countertenor David Trudgen makes his company debut as Oberon, King of the Fairies, and is joined by coloratura soprano Suzanne Rigden (POV’s Ariadne auf Naxos) as his wife Tytania. Making his opera debut as Puck is Toronto theatre artist Daniel Ellis. The rest of the fairies are played by a chorus of boy trebles.
Victoria’s Susan Platts (POV’s Das Rheingold) returns as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Her fiancé, Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is played by Stephen Hegedus (POV’s Maria Stuarda). The four young lovers are Adam Fisher (POV’s South Pacific in Concert) and Lauren Segal (POV’s Così fan tutte) as Lysander and Hermia, with John Brancy (POV’s Ariadne auf Naxos) and Betty Waynne Allison (POV’s Das Rheingold) as Demetrius and Helena. Pacific Opera Victoria Artistic Director Timothy Vernon conducts the Victoria Symphony, and Giuseppe Pietraroia directs the Children’s Chorus.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM is performed at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, Victoria, April 14, 16, 22 at 8 pm, with a matinee Sunday, April 24 at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in English with English surtitles.