A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Benjamin Britten

10th, 14th, 16th June 2016 · 8:00 pm

12th June 2016 · 6:00 pm

18th June 2016 · 7:00 pm

Sala Principal
Opera in three acts · Music by Benjamin Britten · Libretto by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, based upon the eponymous play by William Shakespeare · Premiere: Aldeburgh Festival, 11th June 1960

Roberto Abbado

Stage Director, Set Designer and Choreographer
Paul Curran

Costume Designer
Gabriella Ingram

Lighting Designer
David Jacques

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats
Luis Garrido, chorus master

Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana

Christopher Lowrey

Nadine Sierra
Jennifer O’Loughlin (16)

Brandon Cedel

Iuliia Safonova

Mark Milhofer

Dan Kempson

Nozomi Kato *

Leah Partridge

Conal Coad

Richard Burkhard

Keith Jameson

Tyler Simpson

William Ferguson

Michael Borth *

Chris Agius Darmanin

Alejandro Estellés **

Joel Orts **

Héctor Francés **

Josep de Martín

Ángel Valdevira Boudet

* Centre Plácido Domingo
** Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats


It is night in the woods outside Athens. Oberon (king of the elves) and his wife Tytania (queen of the fairies) argue over a changeling boy: the king wants to give him to a knight, but the queen wants to keep him as he is the young child of one of her servants. Refusing to give the boy to Oberon, Tytania leaves. Oberon calls on his loyal Puck and sends him in search of a magic flower. The juice of this flower can make someone fall in love with the first person they see. Oberon plans to sprinkle this juice on Tytania’s eyelids while she is asleep, and then take the changeling boy for himself.

Four young people enter the woods -Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena- playing a strange love/hate game of chasing and running from each other. Oberon decides to intervene in their problems and instructs Puck to use the juice of the magic flower to sort out the lovers’ muddle.

At that moment, a group of six craftsmen from Athens arrive. They are preparing to perform a play at the wedding between Theseus (Duke of Athens) and Hippolyta (Queen of the Amazons). After deciding on the roles to be played by each one, they arrange to meet that night in the woods to start to rehearse the play.

Two of the young people, Hermia and Lysander, lost and exhausted, fall asleep in the woods. Puck sprinkles the juice from the magic flower on Lysander’s eyelids, thinking he is Demetrius. Demetrius arrives pursued by Helena, but he angrily dismisses her. Disconsolate, she sees Lysander and wakes him, and on opening his eyes he falls in love with her. Helena then runs off thinking that Lysander is making fun of her, but he chases after her.

Nearby, Tytania falls asleep. Oberon appears and sprinkles the love juice on her eyelids.


The craftsmen have started their rehearsal when Puck decides to start his mischief: he changes Bottom’s head into that of an ass causing the other craftsmen to run off in fear. Bottom, alone and afraid, sings to calm himself and his singing wakes Tytania.

The juice from the magic flower casts its spell and the queen of the fairies instantly falls in love with him. She seduces him and leads him to her bed.

Oberon is overjoyed to find his plan has worked, but it doesn’t last for long as Demetrius enters chasing Hermia. It is clear that Puck has made a mistake, and he will have to wait for Demetrius to fall asleep and sprinkle the magic juice on his eyelids.

At this point of the lovers’ mix-up, things get even worse when Helena and Lysander wake Demetrius as they rush around, making him fall in love with Helena, just as Hermia arrives to be rejected by Lysander who is furious with Helena, and she is convinced that they have all agreed to make fun of her.

Faced with such a disastrous situation, Oberon gets even angrier with Puck and instructs him to sort the couples out. Puck leads the four young people into the woods and, when they have fallen asleep, he sprinkles their eyelids with an antidote.


It is nearly dawn when Oberon frees Tytania from the flower’s spell. The four young lovers awaken and finally pair off according to their original feelings for each other. Bottom also wakes up with his head returned to normal, and he thinks it has all been a dream. The other craftsmen, who have been searching for Bottom, find him at last and tell him their play is to be performed at court.

It is the wedding day of Theseus and Hippolyta in Athens. The craftsmen perform their play, the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe for the three noble couples

Finally, when the humans retire to their rooms to sleep, the fairies bid us farewell.