Tryon Festival Theatre February 18-21, 2016
Libretto adapted from Shakespeare by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Filippo Ciabatti, conductor
Christopher Gillett, director
"Until Nathan Gunn asked me to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream, I confess I hadn't given a lot of thought how I would go about it, despite having sung the opera more times than I care to tot up over the 36 years since I first sang it. So, when Nathan popped the question, I had to ponder carefully on how to do the whole opera, not just my role.
To often these days, especially in Europe where I come from, the argument rages about 'conceptual productions.' But the onus is on the director and his team to come up with something fresh; something that lets the audience see a work and discover (hopefully) nuances and humour that can often be obscured by the dust of antiquity. Above all, my job is to reveal the meaning of the play.
I like to think that what we have come up with provides the play with a fresh context rather than a confusing concept. Rather than set the opera in Shakespeare's mishmash of ancient Greece (Theseus's court and the lovers) and his contemporary England (the 'Rustics'), I have relocated the opera to something that feels like the present day- in the fictional but plausible small town of Athens, New Hampshire.
It's the height of summer and the social niceties and romantic complexities of the high school prom are upon us. The hormones of young, preppy adults are running wild, contrary to the wishes of their well-to-do parents. Meanwhile, further-down the social ladder, a bunch of geeks has enlisted the help of a jock, Bottom, in putting on a play, in the hope of winning a significant bursary at the behest of the prom king.
And what of the Fairies? What are fairies? We have grown up with the JM Barrie version- cute and winged- but that's a Victorian invention. Shakespeare's fairies were anything but. They certainly couldn't fly. And the fact that, thanks to Britten, they are now largely a children's chorus with Oberon and Titania as their monarchs led me to think about hierarchical groups. And which group of mortals (that spends a lot of time in the forest) might a bunch of immortal sprites seek to emulate? Why, a cookie-baking, badge-wearing troop of Scouts of course!
But, concept or context, 'we have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear,' so don't worry too much, sit back and enjoy this 'sweet comedy.'"
-Christopher Gillett, Stage Director
OBERON- Yichen Li
TITANIA- Lara Semetko, Margaret Blackburn, Nini Marchese (Cover)
PUCK- Bennett Kosma
LYSANDER- Brenton Strauss
HERMIA- Rosemary Hamington
DEMETRIUS- Nate Buttram, David Catalano
HELENA- Adeline Mckinley, Noa Benedict, Madeline Whitesell (Cover)
BOTTOM- Ricardo Sepulveda
FLUTE- Aaron Godwin
QUINCE- Anson Woodin
SNOUT- Eric Mendoza
STARVELING- Xiaoyi Zha
SNUG- Chet Alwes
THESEUS- Joseph Trumbo
HIPPOLYTA- Mattie Crisp
COBWEB- Nini Marchese
MOTH- Madeline Whitesell
MUSTARDSEED- Katherine Bokenkamp
PEASEBLOSSOM- Alicia Hurtado
FAIRY CHORUS- Tamara Asire, Elle Burrus, Sarah M. Grosse Perdekamp, Anya Kaplan-Hartnett, Anna Kinderman, Marie Kinderman, Jenna Lee, Amy Liu, Roma Mehta, Melanie Murphy
CONDUCTOR- Filippo Ciabatti
STAGE DIRECTOR- Christopher Gillett
CHOREOGRAPHER- Catherine Hamilton
MUSIC ADMINISTRATOR- Michael Tilley
CHORUS MASTER- Andrea Solya
SCENIC DESIGNER- Jose Diaz
COSTUME DESIGNER- Aimee Beach
LIGHTING DESIGNER- Dani Deutschmann
SOUND DESIGNER- Cynthia Booker
PROPERTIES MASTER- Megan Dietrich
HAIR & MAKEUP COORDINATOR- Aimee Beach
MUSICAL PREPARATION- Jeeson Eun, Michael Bagby
STAGE MANAGER- Nick Loweree
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR- Roy Howington
SUPERTITLES- Dennis Helmrich