The Fairy Queen

The Fairy Queen (a semi-opera spectacular)
April 2012

Music by Henry Purcell
Directed by Julianne Just
Musical direction by Ryan Bancroft 
Choreography by Becca Lemme

Scenic Designer - Christopher Heilman
Costume Designer - Silvanne EB Park
Lighting Designer - Shelly Rodriguez
Sound Designer - Ashish Dha
Video Designers -  Christopher Heilman & Vincent Richards

Purcell's The Fairy Queen was first performed in 1692 for the  fifteenth wedding anniversary of King William III and Queen Mary II. A masque, also known as semi-opera, or, as Purcell described it, a “Restoration Spectacular”, The Fairy Queen evokes the enchanted world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The libretto is an anonymous adaptation of Shakespeare’s text. The changes to the original text reflect the dramatic conventions of the seventeenth century. Following Purcell’s death in 1695, the score for The Fairy Queen was lost, and not recovered until early in the twentieth century.

The masques themselves are thought to relate metaphorically rather than literally to the text. Critics have at times stated that the music has little or no relationship to the text. However, I believe if you take a closer look (or rather, listen), one will find that music directly relates to both specific themes and emotions found in the story, as well as, the event and people for which it was written. Originally, the music was intended to reside between the acts of the adapted text. Nowadays, the music is, more often than not, performed on its own. However, despite this trend, I wanted to work with the story that was integral to the original production. We have strived to create a piece in which opera singers and actors can occupy a single world where text, music, and movement can collide.
Photos by Scott Groller