In just two weeks, the Vancouver Opera 2022-2023 season continues with the company premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. British composer Benjamin Britten’s romantic, atmospheric opera makes its Vancouver Opera debut for three performances starting February 11th at 7:30pm, followed by Thursday, February 16th at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 19 at 2pm.
Adapted from the Shakespeare play, Britten’s Dream promises an evening of enchantment as some of The Bard’s most iconic and outright hilarious characters are swept up in a whimsical whirlwind of magic potions, love triangles and mistaken identities. Dream is the story of four lovers, a feuding King and Queen of the fairies, and a comedic ensemble of Mechanicals. Each group is beautifully captured by Britten’s contrasting sound worlds, resulting in an accessible operatic fairy tale complete with plenty of comedy.
“Presenting this magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a thrill for us at Vancouver Opera,” said Tom Wright, Vancouver Opera General Director. “Audiences are familiar with the story and we hope that familiarity will encourage patrons to come experience this fantastical opera. In our cast for Dream we are thrilled to have a descendant of composer Benjamin Britten join our company; Spencer Britten will be singing in the role of Lysander. This is a treat for audiences to have a multi-generational connection to this production here in Vancouver.”
Conductor Jacques Lacombe makes his return to Vancouver Opera after conducting Turandot in 2017. Director Aria Umezawa makes her debut with Vancouver Opera bringing her innovative work to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage.
Daniel Moody is cast in the role of Oberon, with his faithful servant Puck portrayed by Kunji Ikeda. Magali Simard-Galdes is Tytania, Queen of the Faeries. The four lovers are Spencer Britten as Lysander, Clarence Frazer as Demetrius, Jonelle Sills as Helena, and Hillary Tufford as Hermia. Royal Court members include Neil Craighead as Theseus and Stephanie Tritchew as Hippolyta. Peter McGillivray plays Bottom, who becomes entangled with Tytania as she falls under a love spell. Fellow Mechanicals include Ian Cleary as Snout, Jason Cook as Starveling, Luka Kawabata as Quince, Peter Monaghan as Snug and Asitha Tennekoon as Flute.
For a deeper look at the composer and work, on February 2nd the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) and Vancouver Opera are presenting the second instalment of Opera Adventures. Dreaming Wide Awake: Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a free event allowing audiences to learn about the Vancouver Opera production. Visit the VPL Central Branch Level 8 from 6:30pm for an evening of performances and presentations by the artists and experts who make Vancouver’s opera scene come to life exploring the life and musical influences of the composer, Benjamin Britten.
Vancouver Opera’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre; February 11 & 16 at 7:30pm and February 19 at 2pm. Find tickets online at vancouveropera.ca
Performances are sung in English with English SURTITLES™ projected above the stage.