A 50-foot bed with enormous pillows sets the stage for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opera Philadelphia’s latest production. The Shakespearean play was adapted to an opera in 1960 by iconic British composer Benjamin Britten and portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies that inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
Performance highlights for me included Oberon, the Fairy King, performed by countertenor Tim Mead in his Opera Philadelphia debut; the Philadelphia Boys Choir who were the ever present fairies, and Puck, the servant of Oberon and mischievous fairy played by Miltos Yerolemou, also making his debut with the company.
Puck’s character is the protagonist in the play, and his actions are responsible for many of the hysterical complications that drive the multiple plot lines. These include turning Bottom, one of the mechanicals, into an ass, and enchanting the Fairy Queen Titania to fall in love with said ass.
The show is three hours long. But don’t let that hinder you… the pace and the quality of the performance moves the time like a dream and before you know it you awaken at the end!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs until Feb. 17, 2019. GO! Who doesn’t love funny fairy follies? Take your Valentine and enjoy!