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May 29, 2006

Opera A Midsummer Night's Dream opens June 1

Benjamin Britten's Opera Finds New Setting in Dali-esque Dreamscape

Each spring the UC Santa Cruz Music Department presents a fully staged opera complete with theatrical sets, professional costumes, top graduate and undergraduate singers from the department, and the 40-piece UCSC Orchestra expertly conducted by Professor Nicole Paiement.

Shot from Midsummer Night's Dream

Jessamine Delancey as Tytania with Bottom (who has been transformed into an ass) played by Jesse Avshalomov and Aleksey Bogdanov.
Photo: Steve DiBartolomeo

This season vocal instructor Brian Staufenbiel returns to direct Benjamin Britten's entrancing English language opera A Midsummer Night's Dream (first performed in England in 1960) with libretto by the composer and Peter Pears in an adaptation of Shakespeare's famous play. The opera will be performed in English with supertitles.

Staufenbiel and his expert design team have invented a postmodern midsummer night's dreamscape in which strange fairies roam the streets, and kings and queens rule a Dali-esque urban land. The same design team that brought you Don Giovanni in 2005 and Street Scene in 2004 is back again with lighting design by Sylvie Vray, scenic design by Legend Theatrical, costume design by Marti Kranak, and wigs and make-up by Jeanna Hurd.

Noted Shakespeare scholar and UCSC professor emeritus of literature Michael Warren will present a preconcert talk, titled "Britten and A Midsummer Night's Dream," on June 4 before the closing matinee. The Sunday talk begins at 12:45 p.m. in the Recital Hall. Tickets are required.

A Midsummer Night's Dream plays Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, at 2 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall. Seating is reserved. Tickets are available in advance at the UCSC Ticket Office: (831) 459-2159, $18, $14 seniors, $10 students with ID.

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