Ruth Leon recommends… The Fairy Queen – Glyndebourne

Ruth Leon recommends… The Fairy Queen – Glyndebourne

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

July 30, 2021

The Fairy Queen – Glyndebourne
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Glyndebourne Opera House, with its intimate auditorium, is the perfect setting for a drama which is partly spoken and partly sung. Jonathan Kent’s spectacular production of Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, a huge semi-opera, is joyous, imaginative and witty. And often very funny.

Based on an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the story is lavished with a brilliance that justifies this production’s acclaim. Seeing it online gives an added dimension to Paul Brown’s designs, Kim Brandstrup’s choreography and an excellent cast of actors and singers including Desmond Barritt, Lucy Crowe, Carolyn Sampson, Ed Lyon, Andrew Foster-Williams, Sally Dexter, and Joseph Millson, and the outstanding playing by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under William Christie combine to make a memorable theatrical experience.

Kent’s production spreads Shakespeare and Purcell’s various timeframes over the entire semi-opera so no period is left out from ancient to contemporary. There are some wonderful touches here, especially in the casting of the Rude Mechanicals which, as Shakespeare intended, make me laugh out loud.

Shakespeare and Purcell are an unbeatable combination.

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  • Patrick says:

    Sorry. Nothing will ever match the ENO production from around 15 or so years back. Absolutely wonderful (and hilarious, too)