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date: 16 September 2019

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Alocked

  • Arnold Whittall

Extract

Opera in three acts, op.64, by Benjamin Britten to a libretto by him and Peter Pears, after William Shakespeare’s play; Aldeburgh, Jubilee Hall, 11 June 1960.

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was something of a rush job, conceived and created between August 1959 and April 1960 for performance at the 1960 Aldeburgh Festival, in celebration of rebuilding work at the Jubilee Hall, the festival’s only theatre until the opening of the Maltings at Snape in 1967. The cast for the première included Alfred Deller as Oberon, Jennifer Vyvyan as Titania and Owen Brannigan as Bottom. In 1960 Britten’s reputation stood high and the new opera was soon taken up elsewhere. In 1961 alone it was seen at Covent Garden (in the Aldeburgh production) and in Hamburg, Berlin, Milan, San Francisco, Zürich and Tokyo. It was the first Britten opera to be staged at Snape (1967) and among many successful subsequent productions the English Music Theatre Company’s ...

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