Magazine article Gramophone

H Purcell: The Fairy Queen

Magazine article Gramophone

H Purcell: The Fairy Queen

Article excerpt

H Purcell [DVD][BR][R] The Fairy Queen Yvonne Kenny sop                                              Titania Thomas Randle ten                                              Oberon Simon Rice ten                                                   Puck Richard Van Allan bass                                  Theseus/Hymen Michael Chance counter ten                                     Mortal 

Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera/Nicholas Kok

Stage director David Pountney

Video director Barrie Gavin

ArtHaus Musik [F] [DVD] 100 201; [F][BR] 108128

(134' * NTSC * 16:9 * 10801 * PCM stereo * 0 * [s])

Recorded live 1995

From [DVD] 100 200 (10/01)

How best to tackle Purcell's so-called semi-operas? The Fairy Queen is an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the magnificent music ancillary to the spoken play. Glyndebourne did it straight(ish) in 2009, but that of course necessitated a company of actors as well as singers. David Pountney's more economical solution in 1995 was to ditch the dialogue and turn Titania, Oberon and Theseus into singing roles. Choreographed by Quinny Sacks, with beautifully imagined sets and costumes by Robert Israel and Dunya Rankova, it makes for a highly entertaining show.

Pountney divides the music into nine Masques, starting with 'The Fairy Quarrel' and ending in 'Marriage and Reconciliation'. What particularly impresses is the sheer energy of the staging. …

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