A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream|Die Walküre

Cast

Iestyn Davies
Oberon

Liv Redpath
Tytania

Kameron Lopreore*
Lysander

Luke Sutliff
Demetrius

Melody Wilson
Hermia

Susanne Burgess
Helena

Kevin Burdette
Bottom

Barry Banks
Flute

Meg Marino
Puck

Cory McGee
Theseus

Andrew Potter
Quince

Rehanna Thelwell
Hippolyta

Jason Zacher*
Snug

Wayd Odle
Snout

Andrew Gilstrap
Starveling

Creative

Louis Lohraseb
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

Bruno Baker
Staging Director

Steven Kemp
Scenic Designer

Nicholas Hussong
Projection Designer

Erik Teague
Costume Designer

Thomas Hase
Lighting Designer

Natalia Carlson
Assistant Lighting Designer

Melanie Steele
Wig & Makeup Designer

Sean Nguyen-Hilton
Choreographer

Nora Winsler*
Assistant Director

Peter Nictakis
Stage Manager

Aaron Breid
Assistant Conductor

*Sponsored in name this season by a gift from Beth & Gary Glynn, The Glynn Studio Artists also receive significant support from the Donald & Marilyn Keough Foundation, John & YeeWan Stevens, and Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg.

Composer: Benjamin Britten
Librettist: Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears
Based on the play by: William Shakespeare
Premiere Performance: June 11, 1960, Aldeburgh Festival

Mystical figures dance in the night as Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. This adaptation of celebrated playwright William Shakespeare’s work follows the consequences of a falling out between Oberon and Tytania, the fairy-king and queen. What results is a chaotic comedy rife with magical potions, mistaken identities, perplexed lovers, and even more machinations of mischief. British countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon and soprano Liv Redpath as Tytania make their Atlanta Opera debuts, joining mezzo soprano Megan Marino performing the role of Puck.

Sung in English with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 3 hours, 15 minutes
Act I:
50 minutes  |  Intermission: 25 minutes  |  Act II: 50 minutes  |  Intermission: 20 minutes  |  Act III: 50 minutes

Composer: Benjamin Britten
Librettist: Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears
Based on the play by: William Shakespeare
Premiere Performance: June 11, 1960, Aldeburgh Festival

Mystical figures dance in the night as Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. This adaptation of celebrated playwright William Shakespeare’s work follows the consequences of a falling out between Oberon and Tytania, the fairy-king and queen. What results is a chaotic comedy rife with magical potions, mistaken identities, perplexed lovers, and even more machinations of mischief. British countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon and soprano Liv Redpath as Tytania make their Atlanta Opera debuts, joining mezzo soprano Megan Marino performing the role of Puck.

Sung in English with English Supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Performance runtime: approximately 3 hours, 15 minutes
Act I:
50 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Act II: 50 minutes
Intermission: 20 minutes
Act III: 50 minutes

Cast

Iestyn Davies
Oberon

Liv Redpath
Tytania

Kameron Lopreore*
Lysander

Luke Sutliff
Demetrius

Melody Wilson
Hermia

Susanne Burgess
Helena

Kevin Burdette
Bottom

Barry Banks
Flute

Meg Marino
Puck

Cory McGee
Theseus

Rehanna Thelwell
Hippolyta

Jason Zacher*
Snug

Wayd Odle
Snout

Andrew Gilstrap
Starveling

Creative

Louis Lohraseb
Conductor

Tomer Zvulun
Production Director

Bruno Baker
Staging Director

Steven Kemp
Scenic Designer

Nicholas Hussong
Projection Designer

Erik Teague
Costume Designer

Thomas Hase
Lighting Designer

Natalia Carlson
Assistant Lighting Designer

Melanie Steele
Wig & Makeup Designer

Sean Nguyen-Hilton
Choreographer

Nora Winsler*
Assistant Director

Peter Nictakis
Stage Manager

Aaron Breid
Assistant Conductor

*Member of The Atlanta Opera Glynn Studio. Sponsored in name this season by a gift from Beth & Gary Glynn, The Glynn Studio Artists also receive significant support from the Donald & Marilyn Keough Foundation. The Studio Artist director position is funded by Jerry & Dulcy Rosenberg in honor of Tomer Zvulun.

Before the Performance

Opera Insights with Dr. Uzee Brown, Jr., D.M.A

One hour prior to all performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339
Orchestra Level, Portal B
Free with performance ticket

Join The Atlanta Opera and Dr. Uzee Brown, chair of the Department of Music and Professor of Voice at Morehouse College, for a short, informative pre-opera talk about the history and music of the opera. Offered one hour before curtain. Free with your ticket!

Program

Synopsis

ACT I
Night has fallen in the woods outside Athens. Oberon, King of the Fairies, is quarrelling with Tytania, his queen, over a young boy who is under her protection. She refuses to give him up. Oberon sends his servant Puck to find a magic flower, whose juice, sprinkled on Tytania’s eyelids, will make her fall in love with the first creature she sees upon waking. He plans to steal the boy while she is under the spell.

Lysander and Hermia have escaped from the city and its law, which allows Hermia’s father to force her into marriage with Demetrius. They decide to elope and set off into the woods. Demetrius, who loves Hermia, chases after her, himself pursued by Helena, who is hopelessly in love with him. But Demetrius scornfully rejects her and runs off into the forest. Oberon, who has witnessed their argument, orders Puck to seek out Demetrius and make him fall in love with Helena with the help of the magic juice.

Six working men have also left the city to discuss in secret a play they hope to perform at the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. There is some disagreement over casting, with Bottom, the weaver, and Flute, the bellows-mender, finally agreeing to play the parts of Pyramus and Thisbe, the star-crossed lovers of the play’s title. Quince, the carpenter, as well as the author and director of the play, hands out scripts, and all agree to meet later that night to rehearse.

Exhausted and lost, Lysander and Hermia lie down to sleep. Puck, who thinks he has found Demetrius, sprinkles the juice of the magic flower on Lysander’s eyes. Demetrius appears, still pursued by Helena, and angrily abandons her. Alone and in despair, she sees the sleeping Lysander and wakes him. Under the effect of the spell, he immediately declares his love. Helena is furious and runs off, thinking he is making fun of her. Lysander follows. Hermia awakes from a terrible dream to find herself alone.

In the heart of the forest, the fairies help their mistress Tytania to sleep. Oberon steals in to put the juice on her eyes, hoping she will “wake when some vile thing is near.”

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ACT II
Later that night, Quince and his men meet to rehearse. Puck, seeing them at work, decides to amuse himself by turning Bottom into an ass. At the sight of this strange and terrifying transformation, the others run off. Bottom sings out loud to keep his courage up. This wakes Tytania, who immediately falls in love with him. With the help of the fairies, she manages to coax him to bed.

Oberon is delighted to find Tytania in love with an ass. But when Demetrius arrives, still in pursuit of Hermia, he realizes Puck has made a mistake. Demetrius falls asleep, and Oberon pours the juice on his eyes. The arrival of Helena and Lysander wakes Demetrius, who now declares his passion for Helena. When Hermia appears as well, only to be rejected by Lysander, Helena is convinced that the men have planned it all to mock her. The four quarrel furiously. Enraged at Puck, Oberon gives him an antidote to administer to Lysander. Puck leads the lovers away through the forest until they fall asleep and puts the herb on Lysander’s eyes.

ACT III
Shortly before dawn, Oberon releases Tytania from the spell. Daybreak rouses the four lovers, who are finally reconciled—Demetrius with Helena and Lysander with Hermia. Bottom, restored to human shape, wakes from what he thinks was a strange dream. He wanders off while his friends search for him. They’re about to give up when he returns with news that their play has been chosen to be performed at court.

Back in Athens, the four lovers ask Theseus’s forgiveness for their disobedience to the law. Theseus decides that they shall be married together with him and Hippolyta. Quince and his players finally give their performance of “Pyramus and Thisbe,” and the three couples retire to bed. Oberon, Tytania, and the fairies bless the sleeping household—with Puck having the last word.

Courtesy of Metropolitan Opera

Characters & Cast

Oberon

Iestyn Davies

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Tytania

Liv Redpath

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Lysander

Kameron Lopreore

Demetrius

Luke Sutliff

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Hermia

Melody Wilson

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Helena

Susanne Burgess

View Website >

Bottom

Kevin Burdette

View Website >

Flute

Barry Banks

View Website >

Puck

Theseus

Quince

Hippolyta

Snout

Starveling

Andrew Gilstrap

A First Timer’s Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?

Auditions

Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.

Rehearsals

Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Composer

Benjamin Britten
(1913-1976)

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

Born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the son of a dentist, Britten showed talent from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and privately with the composer Frank Bridge. Britten first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy was Born in 1934. With the premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to international fame. Over the next 28 years, he wrote 14 more operas, establishing himself as one of the leading 20th-century composers in the genre. In addition to large-scale operas for Sadler’s Wells and Covent Garden, he wrote chamber operas for small forces, suitable for performance in venues of modest size. Among the best known of these is The Turn of the Screw (1954). Recurring themes in his operas include the struggle of an outsider against a hostile society and the corruption of innocence.

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Britten’s other works range from orchestral to choral, solo vocal, chamber and instrumental as well as film music. He took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, including the opera Noye’s Fludde, a Missa Brevis, and the song collection Friday Afternoons. He often composed with particular performers in mind. His most frequent and important muse was his personal and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears; others included Kathleen Ferrier, Jennifer Vyvyan, Janet Baker, Dennis Brain, Julian Bream, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Osian Ellis and Mstislav Rostropovich. Britten was a celebrated pianist and conductor, performing many of his own works in concert and on record. He also performed and recorded works by others, such as Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Mozart symphonies, and song cycles by Schubert and Schumann.

Together with Pears and the librettist and producer Eric Crozier, Britten founded the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, and he was responsible for the creation of Snape Maltings concert hall in 1967. In his last year, he was the first composer to be given a life peerage.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Conductor

Louis Lohraseb

Since his professional debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in 2019, Louis Lohraseb has quickly established himself as an exciting new conductor on the international stage, with subsequent debuts at the Semperoper Dresden, Los Angeles Opera, and Komische Oper Berlin.

Following his mainstage debut conducting Tosca at Los Angeles Opera, Mr. Lohraseb was immediately re-engaged for Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La traviata. Elsewhere in 2023-24, he debuts at Staatsoper Hamburg (Le Nozze di Figaro) and The Atlanta Opera (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); and with the Oakland and Peoria symphonies, and Wintergreen Music Festival.

Recent seasons have included Semperoper Dresden (Carmen); Komische Oper Berlin (La traviata); Opera Sarasota (Thérèse); La rondine and Don Giovanni at Indiana University Opera Theatre; and gala concerts with Yale Opera and Summer Opera Tel Aviv.

An accomplished pianist, Mr. Lohraseb is a regular recital and chamber music partner collaborating with such artists as Erica Petrocelli, Liv Redpath, Charles Castronovo, Taylor Raven, Eric Silberger, Madalyn Parnas, and Cicely Parnas. He studied piano with Findlay Cockrell and Kevin Murphy, and harpsichord and theory with William Carragan.

Mr. Lohraseb was a recipient of the prestigious Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award in 2022, and he includes among his mentors Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Arthur Fagen, and Kevin Murphy. An alumnus of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera, he has served as assistant conductor to music director James Conlon for numerous productions since 2017 at the Los Angeles Opera and the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Born to Iranian and Italian parents, Mr. Lohraseb was graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Geneseo, where he was an Edgar Fellow. He has been a Conducting Fellow at the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Shinik Hahm and served as assistant conductor to Peter Oundjian, John Adams, and Krzysztof Penderecki, among others; with additional post-graduate coursework at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Production Director

Tomer Zvulun

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli born Tomer Zvulun is also one of opera’s most exciting stage directors, earning consistent praise for his creative vision, often described as cinematic and fresh.  His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, the opera companies of Israel, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Montreal, Wexford, Glimmerglass, Houston, Washington National Opera, Seattle, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego, Minnesota, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston University, and IVAI in Tel Aviv.   

Since taking the leadership in Atlanta a decade ago, he personally directed thirty of the company’s productions. He increased the operations of the company from three to six productions per season, while stabilizing the financials and in the course of his first decade tenure, secured Atlanta’s position as one of the top 10 opera companies in the US. Some of his noted achievements includes launching the successful Discoveries series, creating the first young artist program in the company’s history, tripling the company’s annual fund raising, launching the company’s first RING cycle, creating The Atlanta Opera Film Studio, and building a theatre in a circus tent where performances were conducted safely during the pandemic. 

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His work at The Atlanta Opera attracted international attention by earning numerous awards and prizes including the nomination of The Atlanta Opera for the International Opera Awards in London and the selection of his production of Silent Night as both the Irish Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution production of the year. His focus on innovation led to an invitation to deliver a TED talk as well as a case study that is being taught at Harvard Business School. His productions travel the world and bring wide exposure to the company. Next season his productions of  Rigoletto travel to Los Angeles Opera, his La bohème returns to The Dallas Opera, and his acclaimed production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs will make its Kennedy Center debut at the Washington National Opera.  

Headshot_Tomer2022