Benjamin Britten and his operas have an association with Glyndebourne stemming back to the 1940s. In 1946 Glyndebourne staged the premiere of The Rape of Lucretia with Kathleen Ferrier cast as Lucretia and the following year premiered Albert Herring. Thirty four years then elapsed before another of Britten's operas was staged. In 1981, Glyndebourne presented A Midsummer Night's Dream. An acclaimed staging by director Peter Hall which has enjoyed 4 revivals since, it has frequently been described by critics, and the press alike, as the 'perfect realisation of a fairy tale'.
Britten employed disparate musical styles and devices to depict the interaction of the fairy kingdom; the quartet of lovers, the Mechanicals and town tradesmen determined to make it in showbiz.
He juxtaposes a wide variety of styles to create the various worlds in the play. Brash trombones clash with Elizabethan flourishes, tormented string sounds and tuned percussion evoke the mood of the dark forests. With the challenging vocal writing a combination of singing, sprechstimme and spoken word cleverly intertwine.
This recording from Glyndebourne's 2006 Festival, and the most recent revival, is a remarkable production cleverly capturing both the callousness of Oberon's trickery on Tytania, as well as beautifully conveying the sense of sexual freedom that Bottom experiences when encountering Tytania. the stars in this recording are numerous but without doubt Bejun Mehta's Oberon is one of the greatest on record. Iride Martinez makes a notable UK debut as Tytania. The lovers' quartet sing almost all of their scenes as an ensemble, and beautifully at that, with Kate Royal (as Helena) and Jared Holt (as Demetrius) making the most harmonious of couples. Matthew Rose is both a wonderful and beguiling Bottom and is at the very heart of this recording whilst not forgetting the perfect performance from the well drilled Trinity Boys Choir, and show stealer, the 11 year-old Jack Morlen as Puck.
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