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The Fairy Queen
By Henry Purcell
Les Arts Florissants
Produced by Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra Comique, Théâtre de Caen, and BAM
Musical direction by William Christie
Directed by Jonathan Kent
BAM Opera Festival's Centerpiece
The Fairy Queen is a semi-opera (or dramatic opera), an early form of opera from the English Baroque that combines spoken plays with intermittent singing and dancing. Considered Purcell's greatest work in this form, The Fairy Queen was thought to be lost following his death but rediscovered at the turn of the 20th century. BAM presents a new edition of Purcell's score, first performed in July of 2009 by Glyndebourne Festival Opera in celebration of the 350th anniversary of Purcell's birth.
Part play, part song and dance, Henry Purcell's ribald and
irreverent semi-opera The Fairy Queen, in a production by
Glyndebourne Festival Opera directed by Jonathan Kent, glistens
with theatrical magic. No one knows who wrote the text-a
Restoration-era take on A Midsummer Night's Dream -that
slyly comments and elaborates on Shakespeare's comedy.
First performed in 1692, Purcell's lustrous music, conducted by William Christie (March 23, 25 & 26) and Jonathan Cohen (March 27), evokes both the whimsy of Shakespeare's language and the blithe, political, and frequently bawdy tone of the adaptation. Opening in a formal 17th-century library, The Fairy Queen gives way to utter fantasy as fairies spill from the shelves, gods and goddesses fly in from above and below, and spellbound lovers succumb to emotion and the sensual.
Conducted by William Christie (Mar 23, 25, 26) and Jonathan
Cohen (Mar 27)
Set design and costumes by Paul Brown
Lighting design by Mark Henderson
Choreography by Kim Brandstrup
Chorus Master Thomas Blunt
Emmanuelle De Negri (Night/the Plaint), Lucy Crowe (Juno), Claire Debono (Mystery/Fairy/Nymph), Miriam Allan and Anna Devin (Fairies), Ed Lyon (Chinese Man); Robert Burt (Mopsa), Andrew Foster-Williams (Hymen/Sleep/Winter), Sean Clayton (Summer), David Webb (Autumn), Andrew Davies (Phoebus)