An online dramaturgical casebook.

Dramatic Adaptations of Midsummer

  • 1692: Henry Purcell rewrote Midsummer as a masque called The Fairy Queen, an “opera” for the public stage. The basic plot of the play and much of the text remain the same, but the character of Hippolyta is cut entirely, scenes are reordered, songs and dances are added, and the play ends with Oberon and Titania performing an epilogue scolding any critics in the audience.
  • 1843: Felix Mendelssohn composed incidental music for the play, including the famous “Wedding March” for the consummation of Bottom and Titania’s relationship. The music has since been used for a number of ballet adaptations of the play.
  • 1960: Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears adapted Midsummer into an opera for the re-opening of the Jubilee Hall of the Aldeburgh Festival.
  • 1962: George Balanchine’s ballet version used Mendelssohn’s music.
  • 1964: Frederick Ashton created a short ballet called The Dream using Mendelssohn’s music.
  • 1977: John Neumeier created his full-length ballet Ein Sommernachtstraume for his company at the Hamburg State Opera (Hamburgische Staatsoper). Neumeier’s version includes other music by Mendelssohn along with the Midsummer Night’s Dream music, as well as music from the modern composer György Sándor Ligeti, and jaunty barrel organ music. Neumeier devotes the three sharply differing musical styles to the three character groups, with the aristocrats and nobles dancing to Mendelssohn, the fairies to Ligeti, and the rustics or mechanicals to the barrel organ.
  • 1992: Hans Werner Henze used Midsummer as inspiration for his Eighth Symphony, musically depicting Puck’s “girdle ’round the earth”, Titania’s seduction of Bottom, and Puck’s final speech.
  • 2002: Gil Cates Jr. directed A Midsummer Night’s Rave, a modernized film adaptation somewhat in the style of 10 Things I Hate About You.

One response

  1. I OWN that movie. It’s quite disastrous and hilarious

    September 29, 2010 at 1:31 am

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