Henry Purcell, The Fairy Queen (1692)
followed by nonhuman characters (Act 2, like Mysterie and Secresie), bizarre humans (Act 3’s Mopsa was played originally by a male to ensure comedy) and the Seasons (Act 4), then Juno and Hymen conclude the play. As though Shakespeare’s characters were not complicated enough! Excellent guide to Faerie Queene here. Our Glyndebourne production puts (edited, rewritten) Shakespeare back in – with mixed results. Critical review here.
Shakespeare’s play This is a comedy that always slides into serious, even tragic drama, and carries strong messages of class boundaries, male power, human jealousy and weakness. The play within a play Shakespeare used this reflexive device often – think Hamlet’s players, and the play within The Taming of the Shrew. But it’s used most famously in The Dream.  It gives him a chance to put forward his views on acting and theatre.  And it intertwines the levels of reality and illusion. While the fairies weave mystery and the lovers lose their way, Bottom and his co-players are strict realists: the moon must shine and the wall have a chink. More from Britannica. Purcell’s masques How to take a Shakespeare play into opera – Purcell’s approach is to wrap the music round it.  The Fairy-Queen (1692) is a ‘semi-opera’, designed as musical accompaniment to the play.  He set no words from Shakespeare to music, but rather framed a series of masques to be played throughout the drama. The first Act is a soliloquy by the (drunken) poet. He is

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Our production, Friday July 27th

A 2009 Glyndebourne/Opus Arte production, with actors, singers and dancers. Directed by Jonathan Kent, conductor William Christie with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightnment.