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FULL A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten) Chicago 2023 Chicago Summer Opera

Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO          Qries

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Chicago Summer Opera  
  • Date Published: 2023  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: yessubs, ensubs, gensubs  
  • Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO

In the woods at twilight, the fairies alight. They’re joined by “that shrewd and knavish sprite” Puck, who is servant to Oberon, king of the fairies. Oberon and his queen Tytania, who enjoy making one another jealous, are arguing. Oberon enlists Puck to help enchant Tytania so that, after her sleep, she will fall in love with the first person she sees.

The fairies are not alone in the forest, though; two lovers, Lysander and Hermia, have escaped Athens since Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius instead. Demetrius pursues them, as he’s also in love with Hermia. Meanwhile, Helena, who is in love with Demetrius, pursues him only to be devastated by his cruel rejection.

Overhearing Demetrius, Oberon asks Puck to enchant Demetrius with the same spell as Tytania; this way, he reasons, Demetrius will return Helena’s love and all will be well. Also in the woods? An amateur theater troupe led by the comical Nick Bottom. They intend to perform a dramatic rendition of the Pyramis and Thisbe myth, despite some disagreements over casting.

Puck’s love potion plans may seem straightforward, but in the forest realm of the fairies, nothing is. When mix-ups inevitably occur, chaos ensues and our characters are made asses of (in one way or another). However, as in any comedy, order is restored. A triple wedding and an opera-within-an-opera conclude the chaotic and magical tale (but not without a send-off from Puck).

Britten’s take on Shakespeare’s comedy sets all the action in enchanted forest itself, fully immersing the audience in a magical world. His orchestration draws stylistic distinctions between the human and fairy characters and, during the performance of Nick Bottom’s theater troupe, even indulges in parody of the last century of vocal composition.

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