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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Reviews | 0 comments

A “Half-Baked” Midsummer Night?

by Melissa Wimbish

I’m not sure if I have ever read an opera review that begins this way…

“Was [director] Christopher Alden high when he was watching The History Boys? Or has he just been overdosing on too many episodes of Skins?” Accusations of drug use might prompt one to think the production was bad, but it sounds like reviewer Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph thought just the contrary. The latest production of Britten’s take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream features a “spine-tingling chorus,” “excellent conductor,” and a pothead Oberon. Probably a good combination:

“Whatever the dubious inspiration, his totally bizarre, sometimes beautiful, often baffling, occasionally bonkers and really rather brilliant new production of Britten’s Shakespearean comedy is set in the yard of a boys’ secondary school about half a century ago…Sometimes you feel Alden is just grabbing opportunistically at any passing notion…But when masterfully designed and performed as it is here, Alden’s dream of the Dream becomes weirdly and wonderfully gripping, tapping deep into the queasy eroticism which lies at the opera’s dark heart.”

Far out, dude.

Check out the full review, here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/8531493/A-Midsummer-Nights-Dream-English-National-Opera-London-Coliseum-review.html

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