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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real dream
Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981]

I like performances of opera which don't look like they are films just taken in the theatre. They escape from the environment even if the theatre and surroundings are used at the outset. The use of faces in the audience listening to Mozart's Magic Flute directed by Ingmar Bergman...
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by J. Tyrrell

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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A magical staging
It's easy to understand how this production received such good reviews. The staging is as magical as the play, the opening scene in the forest where Oberon meets Tytania is a triumph of design at every level. And the brilliance of the subtle and flexible nighttime woodland stage retains interest throughout. The costumes and make-up of all the mystical woodland players are...
Published on 31 Mar 2007 by Nicholas Casley


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real dream, 1 Feb 2009
By 
J. Tyrrell (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981]

I like performances of opera which don't look like they are films just taken in the theatre. They escape from the environment even if the theatre and surroundings are used at the outset. The use of faces in the audience listening to Mozart's Magic Flute directed by Ingmar Bergman is a case in point. The viewer can share the emotions they express. In this Dream the camera enters into the mysterious woodland setting and sets an atmosphere. What is this? There are shadowy figures in the trees. Whether human or not we are left to imagine. Peter Hall is the director who brings the wood to life, Bernard Haitink conducts the London Philharmonic as expertly as we expect from him.

The performers are from among the top singers with James Bowman as Oberon, King of the Fairies, who I associate with Brittens' music, and Ileana Cotrubus who I don't. Others such as Felicity Lott are among the cast. It is Puck who captures attention. He is one of a group of boys who are Oberon's courtiers and mischief is clearly what they are up to.

The troop of players including are fun, but I have to say having seen Geraint Evans in the role of Bottom at Covent Garden it is a hard act to follow. On that occasion Evans brought the house down.

I have now purchased four copies of this version of Britten's MND since I've ended passing them on to others, including my 8 year old grand daughter who was captivated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful setting, well sung, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I had not previously seen or heard Britten's Midsummer night's dream, but I am glad I first made its acquaintance through this production, rather than some of the alternatives that update the setting into something quite implausible.
This is a straight performance in period dress, well acted and sung, and well directed by Peter Hall (staging) and Bernard Haitink (music) for Glyndebourne. Given its age (it dates from 1981) both picture and sound are very good. It is almost invidious to single out an individual from such an overall excellent cast, but James Bowman stands out as Oberon, while the boy playing Puck (not a singing role) is also excellent.
Buy this recording - you won't be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Interesting production with very fine singing and good way of getting to know it before seeing it live at Bristol Univ this year
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A magical staging, 31 Mar 2007
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
It's easy to understand how this production received such good reviews. The staging is as magical as the play, the opening scene in the forest where Oberon meets Tytania is a triumph of design at every level. And the brilliance of the subtle and flexible nighttime woodland stage retains interest throughout. The costumes and make-up of all the mystical woodland players are superb.

So why only four stars? Despite the faultless playing of the orchestra under Bernard Haitink, the production often clearly became a purely filmic rather than a live experience. Cast will occasionally look direct at the camera and perform to camera rather than to the imaginary audience. And then, a few minutes later, one can hear the response of the audience to events happening on stage. This resulted for me in confusion as to what exactly I was watching. The direct appeal to camera by some stars became uncomfortably bad and amusing, and I therefore thought that the DVD as a whole lacked a certain gravitas. It would have retained integrity if it had been a straightforward direct production before a Glyndbourne audience, or if it had been completely filmed without audience but in a manner that did not directly involve the viewer.

The stars of the show are, for me, Ileana Cotrubas (a feisty and tender Tytania), James Bowman (a serene but also dark Oberon), Curt Appelgren (a marvellous Bottom), and Felicity Lott (a compelling Helena). Oh, and Puck, played by a young boy Damien Nash (where is he now?) is a mischevious delight.

Overall, then, a superb production slightly marred by the manner of its appearance on DVD. But this midsummer magic nevertheless remains long in the memory.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!, 6 July 2008
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This review is from: Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Glyndebourne Festival Opera [1981] [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I enjoyed this production a great deal. It sounded lovely and looked ravishing. It felt like a production that was about the music.
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