A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Oper in drei Akten

Libretto

Benjamin Britten und Peter Pears
nach William Shakespeare

Uraufführung

11. Juni 1960, Aldeburgh (Jubilee Hall)

Besetzung

OBERON, König der Elfen (Alt)
TITANIA, seine Gemahlin (Sopran)
PUCK (Sprechrolle)
THESEUS, Herzog von Athen (Bass)
HIPPOLYTA, Königin der Amazonen, seine Braut (Alt)
LYSANDER, Hermias Liebhaber (Tenor)
DEMETRIUS, Hermias Liebhaber (Bariton)
HERMIA, in Lysander verliebt (Mezzosopran)
HELENA, in Demetrius verliebt (Sopran)
ZETTEL, der Weber (Bassbariton)
SQUENZ, der Zimmermann (Bass)
FLAUT, der Bälgeflicker (Tenor)
SCHNOCK, der Schreiner (Bass)
SCHNAUZ, der Spengler (Tenor)
SCHLUCKER, der Schneider (Bariton)

Elfen, Gefolge des Königs Theseus, Kinderstimmen

Ort

Wald bei Athen / Palast des Theseus

Zeit

Mythische Zeit

Britten, Benjamin

Britten, (Edward) Benjamin, Lord Britten of Aldeburgh
22.11.1913 Lowestoft - 4.12.1976 Aldeburgh


Bühnenwerke
mit Datum/Ort der Uraufführung:

Paul Bunyan (5.5.1941 New York)
Peter Grimes (7.6.1945 London)
The Rape of Lucretia (12.7.1946 Glyndebourne)
Albert Herring (20.6.1947 Glyndebourne)
The Beggar's Opera (24.5.1948 Cambridge).
Let's Make an Opera [The Little Sweep] (14.6.1949 Aldeburgh)
Billy Budd (1.12.1951 London)
Gloriana (8.6.1953 London)
The Turn of the Screw (14.9.1954 Venezia)
Noye's Fludde (18.6.1958 Aldeburgh)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (11.6.1960 Aldeburgh)
Billy Budd [rev] (13.11.1960 BBC*)
Curlew River (12.6.1964 Aldeburgh)
The Burning Fiery Furnace (9.6.1966 Aldeburgh)
The Prodigal Son (10.6.1968 Aldeburgh)
Owen Wingrave (16.5.1971 BBC TV*; 10.5.1973 London)
Death in Venice (16.6.1973 Aldeburgh)
rev = Bearbeitung / * = Radio/TV



ERSTER AKT
Oberon und Titania haben sich wegen eines Inderknaben, auf den Oberon eifersüchtig ist, entzweit. Als Titania mit ihrem Gefolge stolz davongeht, wird Oberon wütend und will seine Gattin ihren Hochmut büssen lassen. Er befiehlt Puck, ein Zauberkraut herbeizuschaffen, um dessen Saft in Titanlas Augen zu träufeln, so dass sich diese in das erste Lebewesen, das sie nach dem Erwachen sieht, verlieben muss. Hermia und Lysander sind dem väterlichen Gebot der Vereinigung Hermias mit Demetrius entgangen, indem sie in Oberons Reich geflohen sind. Demetrius, der die Flüchtigen verfolgt, erscheint. Kurz danach kommt eine Gruppe Handwerker in den Wald, die hier ungestört ihrer Liebhaberei, der Schauspielkunst, nachgehen will und zur Hochzeit von König Theseus ein neues Stück, »Pyramus und Thisbe« einstudiert. Squenz verteilt die Rollen, doch da Streitigkeiten entstehen, geht man wieder auseinander. Lysander und Hermia haben sich im Wald verirrt und schlafen ein. Puck verwechselt Lysander mit Demetrius, den Oberon für die Zurückweisung Helenas strafen möchte und träufelt ihm den Saft der Wunderblume in die Augen. Als Lysander erwacht, und zufällig Helena und Demetrius des Weges kommen, verliebt sich Lysander in Helena und verlässt Hermia. Kurze Zeit später findet Oberon die schlafende Titania, der ebenfalls Saft in die Augen geträufelt wird.

ZWEITER AKT
Wieder treffen sich die Handwerker, um ihre Proben fortzusetzen, ohne zu bemerken, dass Titania in ihrer Nähe schläft. Um die Leute zu entfernen, verwandelt Puck Zettel in einen Esel; entsetzt laufen die biederen Handwerker davon. Titania erwacht, sieht den Esel und verliebt sich in ihn; beide sinken selig auf ihr Lager. Demetrius ist Hermia nachgeeit, um ihre Liebe zu erbitten. Oberon bemerkt, dass Puck den Falschen verzaubert hat, und befiehlt, Helena herbeizuschaffen. Er selbst giesst über den eingeschlafenen Demetrius den Zaubersaft aus, um den widerspenstigen Liebhaber Helenas gefügig zu machen. Die Paare treffen sich; es entsteht ein heilloses Durcheinander, das Oberon beendet, indem er Puck befiehlt, alle solange in die Irre zu führen, bis sie erschöpft zu Boden sänken.

DRITTER AKT
Oberon sieht mit Vergnügen und Unwillen, wie Titania dem in einen Esel verwandelten Zettel zugetan ist. Er löst den Zauber, das Paar versöhnt sich. Auch die schlafenden Menschen werden entzaubert und sollen am nächsten Tag bei der Hochzeit von Theseus mit Hippolyta vereint werden. Als Hermia und Lysander, Helena und Demetrius erwachen, sind sie miteinander verbunden und beschliessen, am Hofe des Königs für ihre Liebe zu bitten. Der Tag der Königshochzeit ist angebrochen. Zettel erscheint zur Freude seiner Freunde wieder in normaler Gestalt, so dass das Schauspiel aufgeführt werden kann. Als Theseus sieht, wie sich die Liebespaare in die Arme sinken, vereint er sie, während die Handwerker ihr Stück spielen. Als sich das Hochzeitspaar und die Liebenden zur Ruhe begeben haben, erscheint um Mitternacht Oberon. Er segnet das Haus und die Neuvermählten.


ACT I
A wood near Athens
A gathering of fairies, attendants of Tytania, Queen of the Fairies, is interrupted by Puck, the servant of Oberon, King of the Fairies. Tytania and Oberon have quarrelled because she refuses to give him one of her attendants, an Indian boy, to be his page. Because of the quarrel, they have neglected their duties, and nature is in disarray. Determining on revenge, Oberon orders Puck to fetch him a magic herb, whose juice, dropped on a sleeper's eyelids, causes him to fall madly in love with the first creature he sees on waking. Oberon intends to use this on Tytania.
Lysander and Hermia are fleeing from the Athenian law which insists that Hermia obey her father and marry Demetrius, but they have been followed by Demetrius, who is in love with Hermia. He in turn is followed by Helena, who loves him so much that she has betrayed her friend Hermia's plans to him. Observed by Oberon, Demetrius spurns Helena and runs off. When Puck brings back the magic herb, Oberon tells him to anoint the eyes of an Athenian youth - Demetrius - to make him return Helena's love.
A group of Athenian tradesmen come to the wood to rehearse a play about Pyramus and Thisbe, which they hope to perform for the wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, the Amazon Queen. The parts are assigned by Peter Quince, though not without some difficulty, as Nick Bottom wants to play every part, in addition to his proper role of Pyramus. They separate to learn their lines, agreeing to return to the spot for a rehearsal.
Lysander and Hermia reappear, exhausted from their wanderings, and lie down to sleep. Puck, mistaking Lysander for the Athenian youth mentioned by Oberon, puts the juice of the flower into his eyes. Demetrius runs through, pursued by Helena, who is too exhausted to follow him further. Seeing Lysander, she fears he may be dead, and wakes him up. Under the influence of the magic flower he falls madly in love with her, but she thinks he is mocking her and runs away. He follows her, abandoning Hermia, who wakes up to find herself alone. She sets off in search of Lysander.
Surrounded by her attendants, Tytania falls asleep, but Oberon creeps up and anoints her eyes with the magic juice, bidding her to "wake when some vile thing is near."

ACT II
The tradesmen start their rehearsal. Puck slips up behind Bottom and puts an ass' head on him. This frightens the others, who run away. Bottom is singing to himself to keep up his spirits, when Tytania wakes up and falls in love with him. She orders fairies to attend to his every wish. He is tired and goes to sleep.
Hermia meets Demetrius and accuses him of having killed Lysander. She continues her search and he lies down to sleep. Oberon, who is watching and has realised Puck's error, sends him to bring Helena to the spot so that she will be on hand when Demerius wakes, and puts the juice in Demetrius' eyes.
But when Helena appears, she is accompanied by Lysander,who is still protesting his devotion. When Demetrius wakes up and also expresses his sudden love, she is unable to believe that he is genuine. Hermia comes on the scene, to find that both men now love Helena, who accuses Hermia of having conspired with them to deride her. The two girls quarrel and Lysander and Demetrius prepare to fight over Helena. Angry at Puck's mistake, Oberon orders him to create a mist and lead the men astray so they cannot harm one another and then put them to sleep and anoint Lysander's eyes with an antidote. When this has been done, Puck brings the girls and puts them to sleep too.

ACT III
Tytania has given the Indian boy to Oberon, who now takes pity on her and undoes the spell. She is horrified to see the creature she has been in love with. Oberon orders Puck to remove the ass' head and Oberon and Tytania are reconciled.
The four young people wake up, paired off properly, wondering about what they have experienced.
Bottom wakes up to find himself again, but he has a strange intimation that something wonderful has happened to him. He is reunited with his friends and they learn that their play has been chosen. Theseus and Hippolyta are preparing for their marriage. The two pairs of lovers explain that their differences have been resolved and Theseus agrees that Hermia can marry the man of her choice. The "tedious brief scene" of Pyramus and Thisbe is performed and the three couples retire to bed. The fairies invoke a blessing on the palace and its occupants.
ATTO PRIMO
Nella magica foresta s’ode il coro delle fate: sopraggiunge Puck e annuncia l’arrivo di Oberon. Il re degli elfi, che è in lite con Tytania, istiga Puck a cercare la favolosa erba degli incanti d’amore. Giungono le due coppie di amanti ateniesi: Hermia e Lysander, Helena e Demetrius. Appena gli amanti se ne vanno torna Oberon, al quale Puck consegna i portentosi fiori. Dopo il passaggio di alcuni artigiani, che stanno organizzando una recita per festeggiare le nozze del duca Theseus, fa il suo ingresso Tytania, che chiede alle fate di intonare per lei un canto che la faccia dormire. Oberon spreme il succo dell’erba sui suoi occhi: Tytania si innamorerà della prima creatura che vedrà al risveglio.

ATTO SECONDO
Mentre gli artigiani iniziano le prove del loro spettacolo, Puck decide di tramutare il tessitore Bottom in un essere con la testa d’asino. Tutti fuggono e Tytania, risvegliandosi, si innamora del mostro. Oberon, dapprima divertito dello scherzo di Puck, finisce per incollerirsi quando scopre che il folletto ha creato una gran confusione amorosa anche tra le coppie degli amanti ateniesi. Per rimediare al pasticcio, le fate fanno addormentare gli innamorati e Puck, durante il loro sonno, riesce a riappacificarli.

ATTO TERZO
Oberon libera infine Tytania dall’incantesimo e fa sparire la testa d’asino di Bottom. Al suono di una sarabanda, Oberon e Tytania si recano al palazzo del duca, dove vengono celebrate le triplici nozze, allietate dallo spettacolo organizzato dagli artigiani.

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