A Midsummer Night's Dream

Photo of Oberon (David Walker) and Puck (Adrian Sarple)
Oberon (David Walker) and
Puck (Adrian Sarple)
Photo by Mark Kiryluk
In a year when arts organization are struggling, looking for safe family entertainment to attract patrons, it's clear that the name Shakespeare is still magic. And at the top of the general audience Shakespearean repertoire sits A Midsummer Night's Dream. A couple of months ago we saw an idyllic production of this work by the Colorado Ballet; next week we'll see it performed by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; and last week we saw a remarkable production by the Central City Opera.

Combining the talents of an outstanding cast, a virtuoso performance of Benjamin Britten's score by the festival orchestra directed by Hal Prince, polished ensemble work by the Colorado Children's Chorale, stylish costumes by Alice Marie Kugler Bristow, painterly lighting effects by David Martin Jacques, and set against his own Maxville Parish inspired set replete with phosphorescent dragonflies and fairies, director and scenic designer Paul Curran has come up big in his debut at the refurbished 124 year old opera house.

Photo of Tytania (Anna Christie) and Oberon (David Walker)
Tytania (Anna Christie) and
Oberon (David Walker)
Photo by Mark Kiryluk
In no production of this classic have I seen a more physically attractive and perfectly matched Oberon and Tytania than in David Walker and Anna Christy. Walker's countertenor and Christy's soprano, both recently heard at the New York City Opera, make their repartee a joy.

Photo of Helena (Sylvia McNair) and Demetrius (Ian Greenlaw)
Helena (Sylvia McNair) and
Demetrius (Ian Greenlaw)
Photo by Mark Kiryluk
World renowned soloist Sylvia McNair as Helena leads the talented world-class lovers including soprano Mary Phillips as Hermia, tenor John McVeigh as Lysander, and baritone Ian Greenlaw as Demetrius, who have great fun chasing each other around the stage, casting off considerable layers of clothing, all the while singing
up a storm.

Patrick Carfizzi handles the central comedic role of Bottom with aplomb until he is upstaged, in the final "Rustics" scene, by Lawrence Bianco's Flute, whose Joan Sutherland send-up had us laughing until we cried.

If you're looking for a way to introduce the kids to opera or just plain enjoy it on it's own terms, Central City Opera's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a winner. It runs in repertory with Carmen and Summer and Smoke through August 8th. 303-292-6700.

Bob Bows


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