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A Midsummer Night's Dream at Hungarian State Opera


4/5/2013 - 4/7/2013


Hungarian State Opera

H-1061 Budapest, Andrássy Ave. 22.
Budapest,Central Hungary
Phone: +36 1 81 47 225

A Midsummer Night's Dream in Hungary

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The spiritual protagonist of Seregi's ballet is Bottom, the craftsman. Why Bottom? Because it is his fate that reveals the fate of those struggling, always wanting to get to know their real selves, always trying to communicate everything to everyone. The fate of every artist or thinker.

The meaning of Bottom's adventures is never-ending striving to prove himself and to bring decisions in a world controlled by unknown powers. For one single moment at the end of his dream he becomes adult and it strikes him that he is a man who knows of things he cannot and is forbidden to speak about.

In the end he returns to his old self, which is the key turn in Seregi's ballet. The moment Bottom realizes that his having turned into a donkey and making love to the fairy queen was just a dream, he understands that the sole meaning of his life is him being a human creature, being himself.

Act 1

Scene 1: A company arrives at the theatre, unpack the costumes and requisites, and start rehearsing their parts. They try on costumes and prepare the settings. We get to know the characters - and the mysterious wood of Ardennes is ready for anything to happen.

Scene 2: It starts with the dance of Puck and the fairies. Their queen and king Titania and Oberon appear quarrelling. Oberon asks Puck for a magic flower, which Puck presents. Hermia and Lysander, a couple having escaped to the forest are about to go to sleep. The fairies accompany Titania, also going to bed, to the spot. Oberon sprinkles a magic drop onto Titania's eyes. Craftsmen arrive in the wood in order to rehearse the play they are going to perform at the wedding feast of Theseus. Bottom disappears during the rehearsal only to return changed into a donkey, on the sight of whom the frightened craftsmen run in all directions. Already influenced by magic, Titania starts discovering the 'beauty' of Bottom changed into a donkey.

Act 2

While Lysander and Hermia are fast asleep in the wood, Puck drops some magic fluid onto Lysander's eyes. Demetrius is seeking Hermia. Helena, wishing to find her rival, follows him but he drives her away and goes on searching the wood. Helena catches sight of the sleeping Lysander, who wakes up, falls in passionate love with her and dashes off in her pursuit. Hermia wakes up as well and is distressed to see that her lover Lysander has disappeared from his resting place by her side. She sets out to find him. Demetrius drags himself back, tired to death. Puck, who has mixed up the two couples, wants to compensate for his error and drops some magic fluid into Demetrius' eyes but thus only creates even greater confusion. While Lysander is besieging Helena, she stumbles over the sleeping Demetrius. He wakes up to catch sight of Helena and, under the influence of the magic drop, falls in ardent love with her. Thus Helena is now pursued by two lovers. Hermia arrives meandering and witnesses the unmistakable situation. At the end of a quarrel the four of them disperse. Oberon arrives to scold Puck for having misconducted the case. Puck begs him for pardon and conjures up a storm in the wood. The lovers retire for the night at Puck's order after rambling about in the pouring rain amidst strokes of lightning.

Theseus and Hippolyta arrive for the morning hunt with their retinue, in the company of Hermia's father Egeus. They discover the sleeping couples. A scandalous wakening follows, in the course of which Egeus demands recompense for the rape of his daughter. Theseus pardons them and announces a triple wedding. He is going to marry Hippolyta and the lovers should find their partners, too. The two scared couples stay alone in the wood. Their dance is about reconciliation, forgiveness and about the incomprehensible night. They leave happily. Oberon arrives to break the spell on Titania's eyes. She confesses that she loves Oberon and belongs to him. After they leave, Bottom awakes to hear birds twittering but is unable to understand his dream. Hearing the guitar and the sad song of his friends the artisans he finds them. They inform him happily that court has accepted their play and they can prepare for the performance.

Act 3

Theseus and his court are gathering for the wedding at the tune of the famous bridal march. They watch the performance titled Pyramus and Thisby, a most lamentable comedy, by the artisans (i.e. Bottom and his companions). The successful performance is followed by the real wedding dinner. The fairies appear in the feasting court. Led by Oberon and Titania, they bless the house and wish the three couples happiness. His job finished, Oberon-Prospero breaks his magic stick in two, and the performance ends. The actors take off their masks and costumes and leave the scene. Only Puck remains to wish the audience good night. He finds the broken stick and, crying, tries to put it together again. He manages to set the stick and the scene becomes spell-bound again. Art is eternal, the performance can never end, the spell can never break.

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