The Fairy Queen

Purcell - Autumn 2011

A strange, delicate masque recreating the enchanted world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Conductor 
Joseph McHardy
Director 
Thomas Guthrie
Designer 
Roger Butlin
Lighting Designer 
Kevin Treacy
Title sponsor of The Fairy Queen


Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (1692) is a strange, delicate masque recreating the enchanted world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Thomas Guthrie has long been fascinated by this ethereal opera; his latest production, influenced by the English surreal painter Richard Dadd, imagines the story set in a military convalescent hospital.

Simply and elegantly designed by Roger Butlin, the production includes dancers and acrobats alongside singers. It is a joyous production, filled with fantasy and craft. A cast including Mark Wilde (ETO’s Tamino and Tito in recent Mozart productions) will do full justice to Purcell’s haunting lively airs, including One Charming Night, the Plaint and the song of the Drunken Poet.

Tom Guthrie’s 2005 production with Armonico Consort
Sung in English
Running time: 2 hours and 10 minutes (including interval)
Pre-show talks before all shows: contact the venue for more information about time and location and to book.

The story

  • Click here to read the director’s notes about this production and watch a video summary of the story of The Fairy Queen.
  • Or click here to read the complete libretto.

The music

Click through to listen to a sample of music from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.

Or listen to the complete recording on Spotify. (Not on Spotify? Click here to join for free)

Interviews, videos and trailers


Production trailer by Nick Howard

Festival tips and local secrets

We are sure that in between performances you will be keen to get out and about and make the most of what the places we are touring to have to offer. With this in mind, we have compiled guides to some of this season’s towns and venues, listing places to go, attractions to visit and tips on where to eat and shop. Enjoy your stay!

What the papers say

“Ingenious, and utterly captivating throughout. The singers are all superb individually and as an ensemble: I’ve never heard such a well-balanced and yet colourful cast of singers in this work.”
***** (5 STARS) What’s On Stage

“[Guthrie’s]…astonishing production of Purcell’s Fairy Queen was a hugely enjoyable fusion of music, drama, puppetry and acrobatics. If there’s more to come as exhilarating as this, I’ll be first in the queue.” Evening Standard

“A visual feast” A Younger Theatre

Showing At

  1. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London
    6th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  2. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London
    11th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  3. Theatre Royal Bath
    17th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  4. Buxton Opera House
    20th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    27th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  6. Theatre Royal, Lincoln
    29th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  7. Harrogate Theatre
    3rd Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  8. Wycombe Swan Theatre
    8th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  9. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    11th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    17th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  11. Malvern Theatres
    26th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  1. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London — 6th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2BS

  2. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London — 11th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2BS

  3. Theatre Royal Bath — 17th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET

  4. Buxton Opera House — 20th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge — 27th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    11 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

  6. Theatre Royal, Lincoln — 29th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Clasketgate, Lincoln, LN2 1JJ

  7. Harrogate Theatre — 3rd Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Harrogate Theatre, Oxford Street, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 1QF

  8. Wycombe Swan Theatre — 8th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Saint Mary Street, High Wycombe, HP11 2XE

  9. Snape Maltings Concert Hall — 11th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Aldeburgh Music, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP

  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 17th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  11. Malvern Theatres — 26th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3HB

Joseph McHardy

Joseph McHardy

Conductor

Joseph McHardy studied at Edinburgh University (prizes for Early Music and Conducting), RAM, and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He was assistant conductor for Vivaldi, L’incoronazione di Dario (Garsington Opera); Handel, Tamerlano (Teatro Real, Madrid); Handel, Alcina (Komische Oper, Berlin) and Monteverdi, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Birmingham Opera Company). As repetiteur, he has worked for Glyndebourne in Purcell, The Fairy Queen and Handel, Giulio Cesare. He works regularly with ETO as a repetiteur and harpsichordist, which included 2009’s Handelfest. He has performed with Gabrieli Players, OAE, the London Handel Orchestra, Retrospect Ensemble, La Nuova Musica, ENO, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and with Vivaldi specialists La Serenissima, with whom he has made several recordings.

Thomas Guthrie

Thomas Guthrie

Director

A former Jette Parker Young Artist stage director at Royal Opera House, the singer and stage director Thomas Guthrie studied at Cambridge University and Royal Northern College of Music.

Productions include Mozart’s Magic Flute, Der Stein der Weisen, Impresario, Purcell’s Fairy Queen and King Arthur, Donizetti’s Rita, the David Owen Norris and Mozart triple bill Two Murders and a Marriage, Schubert’s Winterreise, Walton’s The Bear, and Bach’s St John Passion and the world premiere of Bootmaker’s Daughter at Brighton Festival.

Last year he directed Ludd and Isis, an opera written and performed by the local community to launch the new ROH Production Park, described in Opera Now as ‘one of the ROH’s greatest achievements’. Plans include work for Classical Opera Company (Orfeo), the Little Angel (Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin), the Barber Institute, ROH and Wexford Festival.

Roger Butlin

Roger Butlin

Designer

Roger Butlin’s extensive opera design credits include Alceste for Janet Baker’s farewell performances and Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House; La Cenerentola and Così fan tutte for ENO (which won a SWET Award); Simon Boccanegra, Die Zauberflöte, Rigoletto and Billy Budd for WNO; L’incoronazione di Poppea, Idomeneo and Eugene Onegin for Scottish Opera; Les pêcheurs de perles, Hériodade, Tiefland and La Vestale at the Wexfod Festival; Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti’s Torquato Tasso and Cimarosa’s L’italiana in Londra and Il pittor parigino at the Buxton Festival; Idomeneo at Glyndebourne; Il barbiere di Siviglia during the opening season of the Sydney Opera House; Katya Kabanova and Albert Herring in Sydney; Peter Grimes at La Monnaie, Brussels; Eugene Onegin in Rome; La Cenerentola in Amsterdam; La Périchole in Cologne; and L’elisir d’amore in Dallas.

His other design credits include Forget-Me-Not Lane, The Devil’s Disciple and Misalliance at the RSC; Heartbreak House at the Royal Exchange, Manchester; Giselle for Northern Ballet; and Augustine’s Oak and The Two Noble Kinsmen for Shakespeare’s Globe. He is the Artistic Director of New Kent Opera, for which he has designed The Return of Ulysses, Iphigenia in Tauris, Idomeneo, Agrippina, The Barber of Seville, The Coronation of Poppea, The Magic Flute, The Prodigal Son and Orfeo.

Recent work includes The Magic Flute for Armonico Consort and the award-winning production of The Turn of the Screw for Oviedo in Spain, directed by Tim Carroll.

Kevin Treacy

Kevin Treacy

Lighting Designer

Kevin’s designs include The Shawshank Redemption (Wyndhams Theatre, West End); The Nose (The Performance Corporation – winner for Best Lighting Design, Irish Times Theatre Awards for 2008); Dr. Ledbetter’s Experiment (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Kilkenny Festival); The Yokohama Delegation (Kilkenny Festival); Drive-By (Dublin Fringe Festival and Canterbury Festival); This is our Youth (Bedrock Productions); Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Hänsel und Gretel, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Il viaggio a Reims, Pagliacci, The Medium and Suor Angelica (Wexford Festival Opera 2002-2008); La Tragédie de Carmen (WFO and ETO – nominated Best Opera, Irish Times Theatre Awards 2007); The Little Magic Flute (ETO and OTC); The Kiss, Hänsel und Gretel, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Xerxes (OTC).

Cast

Louise Alder

Louise Alder

Soprano

Louise Alder studied at Edinburgh University before being awarded a scholarship to RCM. At RCM she has won the Ted Moss & Bertha Taylor-Stach
Lieder Competition and the Van Someren Godfery English Song Competition. She is a former Britten-Pears Young Artist and has been awarded an Ian Fleming Award and a Maidment Scholarship administered by the Musicians
Benevolent Fund, a Dewar Arts Award, and scholarships from the Countess of
Munster, AHRC, Hope Scott Trust and Michael Shea Bursary. Roles include
Musetta/ La bohème (OperaUpClose), Poppea/ Agrippina and Theodora/
Theodora (Barber Opera) and cover Lucia/ The Rape of Lucretia (BYO). Recent solo concert performances include Carmina Burana (Philharmonia Chorus) and Diana Cacciatrice (London Handel Festival). Future engagements include recitals
in the Oxford Lieder Festival, Royal Albert Hall (Elgar Room), Perth Concert
Halls and Britten’s Les illuminations with Budapest String Orchestra.

LOUISE IS CURRENTLY STUDYING AT THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC

Michal Czerniawski

Michal Czerniawski

Counter tenor

Polish countertenor Michal Czerniawski studied at the Gdansk Academy of Music and at GSMD. He was a member of 2007 edition of Le Jardin des Voix, touring Europe and USA with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, and is alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. His stage credits include Arsamene (Handel Serse), Timagene (Hasse Cleofide), Orfeo (Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice), Guido (Handel Flavio – cover) and Crazy Jane (Purcell The Fairy Queen). He has performed in concert with conductors including Christie, Suzuki, Hogwood and Beck. Recently he sang the title role in Agostino Steffani’s Orlando Generoso at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.

Anthony Gregory

Anthony Gregory

Tenor

Rising young tenor Anthony Gregory is a recipient of many awards and prizes including the Ian Fleming Award and the Lies Askonas Prize. He was a Jerwood Young Artist for 2010 at Glyndebourne and a trainee of the prestigious National Opera Studio in 2011-2012.

Last season he sang the title role of Lucio Silla (Classical Opera Company) and Edward Milfort Il cambiale matrimonio (Aix-en-Provence Festival Académie). Other engagements included Purcell The Fairy Queen (English Touring Opera); Schubert’s Rosamunde (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra); Bach St John Passion in Hereford Cathedral and the launch of a new recording of Chilcott’s Requiem in Wells Cathedral. In the 2012/13 season he makes ENO debut as Young Sailor Julietta and Don Ottavio Don Giovanni (cover). Other engagements include Ferrando Cosi Fan Tutte (English Touring Opera); Messiah at Cadogan Hall, Wells Cathedral and with Royal Scottish National Orchestra for his debut with the orchestra; a concert of Handel works with the Choir of Kings College Cambridge at the Royal Albert Hall; and a Christmas Concert at the Watford Coliseum.

Nina Lejderman

Nina Lejderman

Soprano

Born in Sweden of Polish-Jewish parents, Nina studied at the Royal Academy Opera, London, most recently on the Opera Course. Nina was a recipient of the 2009/10 Karaviotis Scholarship, of the Miriam Licette Scholarship from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and she was also supported by the Solti Foundation and the Josephine Baker Trust.
Opera engagements: title role in Semele under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras and Laurence Cummings, and Isifile in Il Giasone at Royal Academy Opera, a gala concert at the Bridgewater Hall as part of the Manchester Mid-day Concerts series, Eritea in Eliogabalo (cover) for Grange Park Opera, Nelly Box in Martha for the Opéra de Baugé.
Current season/future plans: Glyndebourne Chorus, First Nymph in Euridice (Stephen Oliver) for BYO, a Samling Foundation Masterclass, The Solti Foundation Award Winners’ concert.

Lina Markeby

Lina Markeby

Soprano

Lina was born in Sweden, started her singing studies there and completed them at GSMD. She has recently performed Cherubino/ Le Nozze di Figaro and Dorabella/ Così fan tutte (Théatre des Champs Elysées; Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing) with Jean-Claude Malgoire. Other roles include Arcane/ Teseo (ETO), Second Woman in Katie Mitchell´s After Dido (ENO; The Young Vic); Second Woman in Deborah Warner’s Dido & Aeneas (Les Arts Florissants for Wiener Festwochen; Opéra Comique; The Netherlands Opera); Messaggiera/Ninfa/ L’Orfeo (Drottningholm); Carmen/ La Tragédie de Carmen, Third Sprite/ Rusalka (both Wexford Festival); Doris/Zaide/ L’Europe Galante (Academie Baroque d’Ambronay, cond. William Christie). In concert she has performed the roles of Idamante/ Idomeneo (Chelsea Opera Group), Idamante and Sesto in extracts from Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart Galas, English Baroque Soloists, cond. John Eliot Gardiner). Future plans include Sesto/ Giulio Cesare with Jean-Claude Malgoire (Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing at L’Opéra Royal; Versailles; on tour across France).

Nicholas Merryweather

Nicholas Merryweather

Bass-baritone

Sheffield born, Nicholas Merryweather studied at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and on the opera course at GSMD. He was a recipient of the ETO Chris Ball Bursary in 2011 and the 2008 Glyndebourne Wessex Award. Nicholas’s operatic roles include Don Giovanni, Papageno The Magic Flute and Mozart’s Figaro (LFO); Don Polidoro The Italian Girl in London (Buxton Festival); Cassandro La Finta Semplice for Bampton Classical Opera; Blazes The Lighthouse, title role Fantastic Mr Fox, Marco Gianni Schicchi (ETO). Concert engagements include Bach with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Handel with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra.

Aidan Smith

Aidan Smith

Baritone

Aidan studied at GSMD and RAM. He has worked for The Royal Opera, SO, Saltzburg Festival, Bregenez Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Garsington Opera, OHP, Longborough Festival Opera and Opera Project. He has recorded Tosca for ORF (featured in the James Bond film A Quantum of Solace); Acis and Galatea and Dido and Anaeas for BBC; Opus Arte and The Beggar’s Opera for Chandos. Future engagements include Jevons/ Ludd and Isis (Royal Opera); Van Bette/ Zar und Zimmerman (Opera South).

Mark Wilde

Mark Wilde

Tenor

Mark Wilde was born in Scotland and studied at the University of East Anglia and RCM.
He made his Glyndebourne debut as Ferrando Così fan tutte, and has since appeared with ENO, Glyndebourne on Tour, WNO, the European Opera Centre, Birmingham Opera, Garsington Opera, the Savoy Theatre Opera, and the Netherlands Opera. Previously with ETO, Mark has sung Tamino Die Zauberflöte, the title role La Clemenza di Tito, Farmer Bunce in Picker’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Flavio, The Fairy Queen and the title role Albert Herring.
Mark is also a prominent concert singer, and has appeared with most of the UK’s and Europe’s major orchestras.
Engagements this season include Britten Spring Symphony in Ekaterinburg (Ural Philharmonic Orchestra), a Britten recital (Musica Sacra Maastricht) and Binet in Offenbach’s Vert Vert (Garsington Opera).

Ingenious, and utterly captivating throughout. The singers are all superb individually and as an ensemble: I’ve never heard such a well-balanced and yet colourful cast of singers in this work.

***** (5 STARS) What’s On Stage

A slick, varied and highly entertaining production with consistently excellent singing. If you’re a Purcell person, this is definitely worth exploring.

**** (4 STARS) Opera Britannia

[Guthrie’s]…astonishing production of Purcell’s Fairy Queen was a hugely enjoyable fusion of music, drama, puppetry and acrobatics. If there’s more to come as exhilarating as this, I’ll be first in the queue.

Evening Standard

The band sparkles under Joseph McHardy’s baton. What fabulously elegant and seductively lovable music this is…

The Daily Telegraph

A visual feast, with breathtaking physical precision and bursts of subtly sexual choreography. I would highly recommend this production as a great starting point for exploring the genre and am relieved to see that opera is willing to push boundaries and surprise its audience, as other forms of theatre regularly do.

A Younger Theatre

What any staging [of The Fairy Queen] needs is magic. And by introducing the aerialists, Guthrie certainly gave us magic. I have never seen the opening of the opera performed more beguilingly.

Music and Vision

With sprightly playing from a small ensemble under Joseph McHardy and excellent singing from a small multiply-cast ensemble, it does Purcell proud. Enchanting.

Intermezzo

Guthrie’s leap of imagination produces a shaded and completely delightful fantasy. An enchanted, romantic evening.

The Tablet

Showing At

  1. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London
    6th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  2. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London
    11th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  3. Theatre Royal Bath
    17th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  4. Buxton Opera House
    20th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    27th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  6. Theatre Royal, Lincoln
    29th Oct 2011 - 7:30 pm
  7. Harrogate Theatre
    3rd Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  8. Wycombe Swan Theatre
    8th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  9. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    11th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    17th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm
  11. Malvern Theatres
    26th Nov 2011 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Please please please put Sheffield on your Autumn tour programme. I have just seen Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicci, and La Clemenzia de Tito and thoroughly enjoyed them all. Fabulous productions, wonderful singing, a real treat.

    Said Paula Whiteside at 14:03pm on 13th Apr 2011

  2. It's a great production. I loved it, emotionally moving and fabulous to look at.

    Said Tachette P. at 10:11am on 21st Oct 2011

  3. Fab show from the aerialists to the end.

    Said Gordon W. at 10:12am on 21st Oct 2011

  4. Excellent! Very baroque with the acrobats and puppets. Really enjoyed it, and it is such a difficult piece to stage.

    Can I put in a plea for you do do Handel's Ottone and also Handel's Faramondo sometime soon? I have these recordings and would so like to see them live.

    Said Sally Gardner at 00:02am on 9th Nov 2011

  5. Enchanting. This production gives true meaning to the term performing arts. Wonderful musicians,dancers, acrobats and puppets - The Dadd and Bedlam references inspired.
    My 12 year old son (who thought he hated opera) was enthralled and my husband (and this is his first live opera) was close to tears at times.
    Thank you for a wonderful and memorable evening.

    Said E Lee at 12:23pm on 18th Nov 2011

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