Campbell Scott, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis at NY Philharmonic

Campbell Scott, Academy Award-winner Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis, Linda Emond, Reg Rogers, Lorenzo Pisoni, and Jeremy Shamos will make their New York Philharmonic debuts in the Orchestra's semi-staged production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring Mendelssohn's Complete Incidental Music. The production, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and directed by Edward Berkeley, will be performed March 17–19 and 22, 2005. The actors, who will appear in multiple roles, join soprano Susan Gritton, mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley (Philharmonic debut), and the Women of the New York Choral Artists, Joseph Flummerfelt, director. A Midsummer Night's Dream is the first program in the New York Philharmonic Festival: Visions of the Beyond (March 17–April 16, 2005).

In this warmly comic tale, humans become puppets in the hands of the immortals, and are doomed to act out their whims and agendas. The main plot is a complex farce that involves two sets of couples (Hermia and Lysander and Helena and Demetrius) whose romantic intrigues are confused and further complicated after they enter the enchanted forest where Oberon, the King of the Fairies, and his Queen, Titania, preside. Puck (or Robin Goodfellow), Oberon's jester, is full of mischief and tricks, while Bottom, the weaver, and his friends Snug, Snout, Quince, and Flute, want to rehearse their hilarious rendering of the play, Pyramus and Thisby.

Campbell Scott performs the roles of Oberon, and Theseus; Marcia Gay Harden portrays Hermia, Quince (Prologue), and Cobweb; Hope Davis plays Helena, Snout (Wall), and Moth; Linda Emond is Hippolyta and Titania; Reg Rogers is Egeus, Philostrate, Puck, Starveling (Moonshine), and Mustardseed; Lorenzo Pisoni plays Demetrius, Flute (Thisby), and Peaseblossom; and Jeremy Shamos is Lysander and Bottom (Pyramus).

Director Edward Berkeley describes A Midsummer Night's Dream as "a healing piece" whose "power lies in its ability to transform the audience from a state of confusion, of upset, to one where a healing can happen, where we can find an acceptance of ourselves and of others. In preparing these performances, one of the things I have had in mind is, of course, Mendelssohn's music, specifically its absolute beauty. It transports us to the world of fairies and the Dream, and then back to the real world, with the 'Wedding March.' It is, of course, comic, but also quite serious."

A 45-minute Tuesday Night Box-Dinner Talk touching on aspects of the evening's program, will take place on March 22 at 6:00 p.m., prior to the concert, in the Helen Huntington Hull Room at Avery Fisher Hall. Speaker tba. Tickets are $20 in addition to the concert ticket, and include a box dinner. Information: (212) 875-5656.

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