Britten and Shakespeare in Suffolk

26th April 2010

We are very excited to bring a Midsummer Night’s Dream back to Britten’s home county in a couple of weeks, especially because eight young residents of Suffolk will join our cast as the fairy children at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, where they will sing to a full house.

The children are enjoying their introduction to the weird and wonderful world of Shakespeare, as seen through Britten’s eyes. One favourite character is Bottom, “because he has a donkey head”, but there’s universal agreement that Puck is rather scary, with Rupert, 8, recalling, “In Cats Macavity scared me and Puck reminds me of Macavity”. As well as seeing the characters from close up, the children are becoming familiar with Shakespeare’s words, which are, “hard to learn because we don’t know what they mean”, according to Anja, 7. This has lead to enlightening discussions with their teacher Elaine, for example as to the meaning of the phrase, “Hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear”. Some of the children have even been doing backround learning by listening to Shakespeare at home.

The occasion itself is enough excitement for many, who are looking forward to wearing the costumes and performimg to hundreds of opera-lovers. “I feel really excited because I would never think that such a big opera company would phone such a small school”, says Paddy, 10.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sold out in Snape, but there are still a few tickets left for Don Pasquale.

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