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Published on Apr 11, 2011
The Fairy Queen is Purcell's joyous response to A Midsummer Night's Dream, incorporating much of Shakespeare's text into a fascinating carnival of music, theatre and dance. In addition to Shakespeare's characters, Purcell also conjures up a wild array of gods and goddesses, nymphs, sprites, fairies and shepherds, culminating in a lavish wedding ceremony presided over by the great god Hymen himself. Not only does the work contain the composer's finest, wittiest and most inventive score, but it calls for such staggering scenic effects that, when first performed, the cost of the sets and costumes almost bankrupted the theatre. Baroque specialist William Christie returns to conduct the period instruments of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a performance to mark the 350th anniversary of the composer's birth.