Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Repertoire

Das Liebesverbot, Vienna 1962

Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.

Lohengrin, Bayreuth 2010 Live

Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.

Parsifal, Bayreuth 2012 Live

Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.

Music from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .

Operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller

This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.

Operas Based on French Literature

Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:

Jules Massenet: Le Cid

Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts

Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani

I puritani, opera seria in three acts

Vincenzo Bellini: Zaira

Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.

G. F. Handel: Athalia

Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts

DONIZETTI: Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.

BERTIN: La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.

VERDI: Ernani — Florence 1957

Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.

von Waltershausen: Oberst Chabert

Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.

VERDI: Otello — La Scala 1954

Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.

HAHN: Le Marchand de Venise

Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.

STORACE: Gli Equivoci

Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.

MARTIN: Der Sturm

Der Sturm: Opera in three acts

PURCELL: The Fairy-Queen

The Fairy-Queen: Semi-opera in five acts.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Repertoire

A Midsummer-Night's Dream by Arthur Rackham
30 Jan 2010

PURCELL: The Fairy-Queen

The Fairy-Queen: Semi-opera in five acts.

Henry Purcell: The Fairy-Queen

Pamela Coburn, Soprano; Lynne Dawson, Soprano; Elisabeth von Magnus, Alto; Paul Esswood, Countertenor; Neil Mackei, Tenor; Robert Holl, Bass. Concentus Musicus Wien. Arnold Schoenberg Chor. Nikolaus Harnonocurt. Live performance, 8 July 1992, Stefaniensaal des Grazer Congress im Rahmen der “Styriarte 1992”.

 

Music composed by Henry Purcell. Libretto anonymously adapted from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

First Performance: 2 May 1692, Queen’s Theatre, Dorset Garden, London.

Roles:
Drunken Poet Bass
First Fairy Soprano
Second Fairy Soprano
Night Soprano
Mystery Soprano
Secrecy Countertenor
Sleep Bass
Corydon Bass
Mopsa Soprano/Countertenor
Nymph Soprano
3 Attendants to Oberon 1 Soprano, 2 Countertenors
Phoebus Tenor
Spring Soprano
Summer Countertenor
Autumn Tenor
Winter Bass
Juno Soprano
Chinese Man Countertenor
Chinese Woman, Daphne Soprano
Hymen Bass

Synopsis:

Act 1

The first scene set to music occurs after Titania has left Oberon, following an argument over the ownership of a little Indian boy. Two of her fairies sing of the delights of the countryside (“Come, come, come, come, let us leave the town”). A drunken, stuttering poet enters, singing “Fill up the bowl”. The stuttering has led many to believe the scene is based on the habits of Thomas d’Urfey. However, it may also be poking fun at Elkanah Settle, who stuttered as well and was long thought to be the librettist, due to an error in his 1910 biography.

The fairies mock the drunken poet and drive him away.

Act 2

It begins after Oberon has ordered Puck to anoint the eyes of Demetrius with the love-juice. Titania and her fairies merrily revel (“Come all ye songsters of the sky”), and Night (“See, even Night”), Mystery (“I am come to lock all fast”), Secrecy (“One charming night”) and Sleep (“Hush, no more, be silent all”) lull them asleep and leave them to pleasant dreams.

Act 3

Titania has fallen in love with Bottom (now equipped with his ass’ head), much to Oberon’s gratification. A Nymph sings of the pleasures and torments of love (“If love’s a sweet passion”) and after several dances, Titania and Bottom are entertained by the foolish, loving banter of two haymakers, Corydon and Mopsa.

Act 4

It begins after Titania has been freed from her enchantment, commencing with a brief divertissement to celebrate Oberon’s birthday (“Now the Night”, and the abovementioned “Let the fifes and the clarions”), but for the most part it is a masque of the god Phoebus (“When the cruel winter”) and the Four Seasons (Spring; “Thus, the ever grateful spring”, Summer; ”Here’s the Summer”, Autumn; “See my many coloured fields”, and Winter; ”Now Winter comes slowly”).

Act 5

After Theseus has been told of the lovers’s adventures in the wood, it begins with the goddess Juno singing an epithalamium, “Thrice happy lovers”, followed by a woman who sings the well–known “The Plaint” (“O let me weep”). A Chinese man and woman enter singing several songs about the joys of their world. (“Thus, the gloomy world”, “Thus happy and free” and “Yes, Xansi”). Two other Chinese women summon Hymen, who sings in praise of married bliss, thus uniting the wedding theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the celebration of William and Mary’s anniversary.

[Synopsis Source: Wikipedia]

Click here for the complete libretto.

Click here for the complete text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Prelude to The Fairy Queen — Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Conducted by William Christie:

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):