Purcell’s intoxicating combination of words and music alternates elements of the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a variety of musical interludes. A magical brew has been concocted by director Jonathan Kent in inventive collaboration with designer Paul Brown.
The glass-fronted cases of a 17th-century cabinet of curiosities disgorge the black-winged inhabitants of a fairy world who make it their business to daze and confuse the poor humans who have accidentally strayed into their kingdom. The mixture is quintessentially English – one moment pastoral and elegiac, the next pure end-of-the-pier slapstick.
Baroque specialist Laurence Cummings will lead the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from the harpsichord in this revival of a production that enchanted audiences on its first outing in 2009. The Daily Telegraph called it ‘an absolute riot, but executed with taste and style’ while The Observer said that ‘it is hard to imagine a more brilliantly creative approach to the work’.
When it was first produced at the Dorset Gardens Theatre in London in 1692, The Fairy Queen featured stage effects that nearly bankrupted the theatre. There were elaborate costumes, swans gliding over lakes, grottoes, woods and 12-foot high fountains. At Glyndebourne there will be dazzling singing and dancing, flamboyant cross-dressing, a flying horse and a warren full of rampant rabbits!
A revival of the 2009 Festival production
Sung in English with English supertitles
Co-Production with Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique
Supported by The Fairy Queen Syndicate
New edition for The Purcell Society by Bruce Wood and Andrew Pinnock. Performed by arrangement with Stainer & Bell.