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A Midsummer Night's Dream


Wed 3 Aug 2011, 7:30pm
Fri 5 Aug 2011, 7:30pm
Sat 6 Aug 2011, 7:30pm
Tue 9 Aug 2011, 7:30pm

Where: Victoria University Memorial Theatre, Student Union Building, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $37.00 ($35.00 + $2.00 fees)
  • Students: $22.00 ($20.00 + $2.00 fees)
  • Eventfinda tickets no longer on sale


Te Koki, the New Zealand School of Music, presents A Midsummer Night's Dream, an opera in three acts by Benjamin Britten.

If there was ever a Shakespearian play that lent itself to be transformed into opera, it is 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' and in doing so Benjamin Britten makes it shimmering, mysterious, and downright mad.

In this inspired production by Sara Brodie, conducted by Michael Vinten, Puck has abducted the orchestra from their slumbers to play for us in an illusory playground where the faeries run the show. In the parallel worlds between past and present, faerie and human, theatre and reality – things are running amuck!

Featuring the finest of New Zealand’s emerging young singers and an outstanding creative team, this will be a night of magic, enchantment and hilarity. A New Zealand premier, this is a not-to-be missed opportunity to experience one of the finest operas of the 20th century.

In its operatic form we cut immediately to the wood and the “dream”. Thus translated the wood is given life by ‘breathing strings’ and characters traversing its byways are defined by different orchestral ‘colours’ and concoctions. The rude Mechanical’s aspiring theatrics are accompanied by woodwind, whilst Nick Bottom is singled out by a trombone – as he would expect, brass instruments being composed of a much more elevated substance). Percussion, celeste, harpsichord and a duet of harps attend the faeries, and Puck has captured a trumpet. Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the realm, are baroque in voice. (Oberon was in fact written for the first ‘professional’ solo counter-tenor, Alfred Deller.) Meanwhile the Lovers’ are given suitably ardent 20th Century musical forms to explore their passions.

Unbeknownst to their mistress the distracted faeries have mislaid their changeling charge, which Oberon so desires to have to himself. Through musically spellbinding stratagems he will eventually tame proud Titania - but is the Indian boy real or imagined? The flawed Lovers’ are losing more than just their sense of direction and reason. However, the dawn will come and balance will be restored to the couples - but what actually went on last night? Bottom is ‘translated’ into an ass, made love to by a faerie Queen and missing his cue. Perhaps he can see through the illusions?
What is real and what is not?

However, one thing is certain: Nick Bottom’s acting ambitions will be fulfilled when the most ‘lamentable comedy’ of Pyramus and Thisbe is to be presented in anticipation of the nuptials of Theseus and Hippolyta. Bottom and his peers take to the stage: opera within opera. Benjamin Britten lampoons the 19th Century Italian opera traditions complete with a Lucia di Lammermoor-like mad scene and flute accompanied cadenza - hysterically and nail bitingly achieved by whom else but ... Flute.

Conductor: Michael Vinten
Director: Sara Brodie
Set and Lighting Design: Tony Rabbit
Costume Design: Diane Brodie
New Zealand School of Music Opera Orchestra

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