FYI: Opera presents Shakespeare's 'Dream' set to music

Andrew Lipian

Oberlin Opera Theater will present a preview of its upcoming production of Benjamin Britten’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" at the FYI: Opera program on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. The Westlake Westshore Arts Council sponsors this event at Porter Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, and offers it free to the community.

However, this 2019 event is steeped in history. "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" was written by Shakespeare in the late 1590s. Almost four centuries later, in June 1960, Britten's opera based on Shakespeare’s play, premiered.

Jonathon Field, director of Oberlin Opera Theater, who has organized the Oct. 30 program, said the soloists are Colin Anderson, a bass baritone who has appeared at the Miami Music Festival; Maggie Kinabrew, soprano, who has performed numerous roles in Oberlin productions; and guest artist Andrew Lipian, a counter-tenor. The singers will be accompanied on the piano by music director Tony Cho. 

Field, who noted having guest artist Lipian was “special,” said, “Mr. Lipian is a native of Grafton, graduated from the Conservatory about five years ago, and since that time has gone on to earn his Master's of Fine Arts in Voice from Michigan State.” Field further explained, “Mr. Lipian is unusual in that he is a counter-tenor, which is a soprano in a male body. Their duet as Oberon and Tytania shows the ranges of both singers, and creates an unworldly effect.”

Almost 60 years ago, when Britten composed his opera, he wrote the role of Oberon for counter-tenor Alfred Dellerr. “The work is typical of Britten, with a highly individual sound-world,” stated one review of Britten’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

The Oct. 30 program previews Oberlin Opera Theater’s full production of Britten’s opera, which will be performed on Nov. 6, 8, 9 and 10. Details and tickets may be obtained by accessing the Oberlin College website.

For almost 30 years, FYI: Opera programs have reflected the WWAC mission to provide the community with an enhanced and broadened cultural life that promotes awareness, education and involvement in the arts.

Louise Seeholzer

Publicist for Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 9:19 AM, 10.15.2019