|Richard van Allan||Theseus/Hymen|
|Arthur Pita||The Indian Boy|
Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen -- an operatic adaptation of William Shakespeare's romantic comedy romp A Midsummer Night's Dream -- receives a first-class production in this performance video, which records a 1995 staging from the English National Opera, with Yvonne Kenny as Titania, Richard Van Allan as Thesus, Thomas Randle as Oberon, and Simon Rice as Puck. Barry Griffiths leads the orchestra and chorus of the English National Opera.
It's hard to describe this production-think of a staging of Alice in Wonderland, and that's pretty close. Costumes range from Medieval to street clothes, plus whatever fantastical things they could dream up. Hopefully you won't mind cross-dressing. The sets and props are changed frequently as the action is taking place. There's a lot of dancing, and a lot of other motion as well. Yvonne Kenny and Thomas Randle both sing very well in spite of all the commotion going on around them. Richard van Allen's voice quivers quite a bit. The ENO uses modern instruments, of course, so Renaissance purists will be offended. The sound and picture are very good, and subtitles are in English. The production is done very well, but this style just doesn't tickle my fancy, so I gave it only 4 stars. If you're trying to get young kids into opera, this one may help.