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Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Simulcast To Cars in Parking Lot

All Sorts of Mistakes are Made in a Dream

Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Simulcast To Cars in Parking Lot British stage director Netia Jones put her singular stamp on a production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream seen at the Santa Fe Opera on August 4, 2021. Performed in the opera house, it was simulcast to the lower parking lot where hundreds of patrons watched from the safety of their cars. COVID made opera goers want to watch from closed cars and listen on their radios. Since the first car-operas were performed in 2020, people have begun to realize that one can take the entire family in the car.

Elementary and high school children can watch the show with parental explanations while the baby sleeps on the back seat. Even the family dog can come. At Santa Fe on this occasion patrons were dining al fresco before the show and still snacking while the opera appeared on the screen. Titles in Spanish and English were printed at the bottom of the screen.

Netia Jones directed and designed the scenery, costumes and projections for this spectacular production of the Britten opera seen both at Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico and at the Garsington Opera Company England. The libretto for the work was taken front Shakespeare play and fitted for the opera by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Jones told the dream-like story in a straight forward manner, but Reed Luplau's acting as Puck and his dancing, brought the ensuing scenes into dream mode. His choreography for the supernumeraries who danced turned them into a fascinating group that moved as one.

Jones's costumes were mid twentieth century modern and imaginatively long, so long they had to be cut off a fabric bolt with an enormous scissors. The costumes got more "Fairy Dust" on them with every ensuing scene. Her scenery consisted of trees, a huge moon, a telescope, the barebones of a piano, and round holes in the stage from which chorus and ballet corps members could pop the upper half of their bodies up and down. Effective lighting was designed by D.M. Wood.

The most interesting singers were soprano Erin Morley as Tytania and countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon. Their clear and accurately placed high voices blended incredibly well. Bass-baritone, Nicholas Brownlee, who had sung the title role of Figaro in the August 3rd performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, sang the leading role of Bottom on August 4th. Teresa Perrotta was the strong-voiced school-girl Helena and baritone Luke Sutliff was her crush, the manly Demetrius.

Met Auditions Winner Duke Kim was the lovable Lysander who sang with dulcet tones and made a fine companion for mezzo-soprano Adanya Dunn. Their occasional wrestling matches were an extra treat. More mature mezzo Lindsay Kate Brown and bass Cory McGee as the Queen of the Amazons and the Duke of Athens added mythological weight to this light and airy midsummer dream.

A batonless Harry Bicket held sway over the orchestra and the playing was pure gold. Britten's orchestration is translucent and every instrumentalist gave a fine performance. A Midsummer Night's Dream is the perfect opera to hear during August in the gorgeous confines of the Santa Fe Opera.

Photo of Iestyn Davis and Erin Morley by Curtis Brown for Santa Fe Opera.


From This Author - Maria Nockin

Maria Nockin worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York while attending  Fordham University across the street from Lincoln Center. At the same time, she studied voice, piano, and violin... (read more about this author)

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