A Midsummer Night's Dream
Felix Mendelssohn composed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at opposite ends of his short life, he wrote a concert overture based on Shakespeare’s classic comedy aged only 17 in 1826.
Mendelssohn finished composing the incidental music for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1842 at the age of 33, just five years before his death. A romantic piece, Mendelssohn’s score is renowned for its stunning instrumental effects, such as the emulation of scampering ‘fairy feet’ on strings at the beginning of the Overture.
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is believed to have been written between the years of 1590 and 1596 and is said to be one of his most ubiquitous works, performed by theatre companies up and down the country.
Set in Athens, Greece, A Midsummer Night's Dream depicts the events that surround Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. The play also follows the events and adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a troupe of six actors known as the Mechanicals, who are controlled by Oberon, King of the Fairies, his wife and Queen of the Fairies, Titania, and their fairy servants.
Markus Stenz, principle guest conductor of the Hallé, will be on the podium, beginning with a selection of delightful arias by Mozart, followed by the full incidental music of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In this British premiere, Shakespeare’s famous text has been adapted by Gerard McBurney to accompany Mendelssohn’s magical masterpiece.
David Shirley will direct Lucas Smith, Will Finlason, Lowenna Melrose and Katie Norris; young actors trained at the Manchester School of Theatre, who will reenact the evocative lines of William Shakespeare.