108, 87, 65, 40, 15, 6 €

The Fairy Queen

Henry Purcell

December 16, 2010

108, 87, 65, 40, 15, 6 €

SEMI-OPERA in five acts. Anonymous adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Premiered on 2 May 1692 at the Dorset Garden Theatre in London

Written by Shakespeare to celebrate aristocratic nuptials around 1595, adapted with pageant for the London public during the Restoration, the comedy, turned semi-opera, intermingles in the course of a single night an aristocratic marriage, pastoral romance, dramatic love affairs performed by amateur actors and the marital quarrels between Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the elves. Sylvan darkness, the liberating force of dreams and the whimsical influence of the moon that promotes the contagion of love, the work covers the spectrum of sentiment and the whole gamut of laughter with fancy, making it a peak of Baroque performance.


Act I
Theseus, Duke of Athens, makes sure the laws are enforced and the children submit to paternal authority. Thus, young Hermia must marry Demetrius as demanded by her father Egeus. Yet she is in love with Lysander and both decide to run away. But their plan stirs up jealousy in unfortunate Helena. Did not Demetrius abandon her after he seduced her? To win back his favour, she tells him that his fiancée has eloped with Lysander. In the woods near Athens, some craftsmen meet to perform the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe for the duke. There, Titania the Fairy Queen hides her adoptive child from her jealous husband Oberon. By his order, the elves drive the intruders away by tormenting them. A drunken poet who has come to the woods for inspiration falls into their hands.

Act II
At night a conflict breaks out between Oberon and Titania, reproaching one another’s extramarital affairs and arguing about who is to have the orphan. Oberon decides to chastise his wife as well as Athenian Demetrius, whose disloyalty he condemns. So his sprite Puck will use the irresistible juice from a love flower. During the Masque of Sleep, Night, Mystery, Secrecy and Sleep deaden Titania’s senses and vigilance. Puck casts a spell on her so that she succumbs to the first arrival but he mixes up the Athenian lovers.

On awaking, Lysander becomes enamoured of Helena and forsakes Hermia. The artisans’ dramatic rehearsal sinks into a ludicrous caricature as Puck intervenes. He chooses Bottom, the most conceited among these dabblers, and turns his head into a donkey’s, making his companions flee, but the Fairy Queen falls in love with him as she opens her eyes. Titania endeavours to hold back Bottom by offering him the Masque of Seduction by way of entertainment.

Act IV
Oberon has sent Puck to redress his mistake as the four lovers are extremely confused. Before dawn Oberon takes hold of the child and releases Titania from the spell. The lovers awake from their dream and the two pairs are properly matched in the end. The King and Queen of the fairies seal their reconciliation with a great party, the Masque of the New Day, during which Phoebus presents them with the Seasons.

Act V
Content with the new moods of the two Athenian couples, Duke Theseus requires their nuptials. Eventually, the artisans can present their burlesque performance. But the celebration ends with greater dignity in the presence of Titania and Oberon with the Masque of Marriage during which Juno herself instructs the newly-weds in the delights and dangers of their new condition.

Direction musicale,William Christie / Jonathan Cohen & Mise en scène, Jonathan Kent Lucy Crowe, Andrew Foster-Williams, Claire Debono, Ed Lyon, Emmanuelle de Negri, Robert Burt, William Gaunt, Robert East, Alice Haig, Nicholas Shaw, Gwilym Lee, Jo Herbert, Roger Sloman, Robert Burt, Desmond Barrit, Paul Mc Cleary, Brian Pettifer, Jack Chissick, Amanda Harris, Jotham Annan, Finbar Lynch...

See all the cast

Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 8:00pm
Monday, January 18, 2010 - 8:00pm
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 8:00pm
Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 8:00pm
Friday, January 22, 2010 - 8:00pm
Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 3:00pm
Salle Favart
108, 87, 65, 40, 15, 6 €

Introduction à The Fairy Queen par Agnès Terrier


William Christie
Musical direction
William Christie
Musical direction
Jonathan Cohen
Stage direction
Jonathan Kent
Scenery and costumes
Paul Brown
Mark Henderson
Kim Brandstrup
Stage direction assistant
Francesca Giplin
Choreography assistant
Joanna O’Keeffe
François Bazola
Linguistic councillor
Sophie Decauvadeine
Soprano, Juno
Lucy Crowe
Bass, Coridon, Winter, Hymen, Sleep
Andrew Foster-Williams
Mystery, 1st Fairy, Nymph, Spring
Claire Debono
Ténor, Chinese Man (Adam), Secrecy
Ed Lyon
Ténor, Summer
Sean Clayton
Membre du choeur

Fairies, Miriam Allan*, Anna Devin*, Claire Debono*, Maud Gnidzaz*

* Membres du choeur

Callum Thorpe
Membre du choeur
DR Emmanuelle de Negri
Soprano, Night, the Plaint
Emmanuelle de Negri
Mopsa, Flute
Robert Burt
DR Les Arts Florissants
Chœur et orchestre
Les Arts Florissants
Robert Davies
Membre du choeur
David Webb
Membre du choeur
Chinese Woman (Eve)
Helen Jane Howells
Membre du choeur
William Gaunt
Robert East
Alice Haig
Nicholas Shaw
Gwilym Lee
Jo Herbert

Starveling, Roger Sloman
Bottom, Desmond Barrit
Quince, Paul Mc Cleary
Snug, Brian Pettifer
Snout, Jack Chissick
Titania, Amanda Harris
Puck, Jotham Annan
Oberon, Finbar Lynch

Dancers, Laura Caldow, Omar Gordon, Samuel Guy,Anthony Kurt-Gabel, Jarkko Lehmus, Caroline Lynn, Maurizio Montis, Sarah Storer

Indian Boy (en alternance), Adel Aïssani, Riad Ghelazi, Lucien Pech

Coproduction, Opéra ComiqueGlyndebourne Festival (créé le 20 juin 2009)Théâtre de Caen (février 2010)Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (mars 2010)

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