Celebrating Britten at 100

c1949 - At Crag House

While the worldwide celebrations of the bicentennials of Wagner and Verdi continue, the Met this season pays tribute to another operatic master with a rare revival of one of his most fascinating works. Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream returns to the stage in October for the first time in ten years, in honor of the composer’s 100th birthday. Britten (1913-­1976) rose to fame with the 1945 premiere of his first major dramatic work, Peter Grimes, and over the following three decades went on to write another 13 operas, including several small-scale pieces. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was first heard in 1960 at Britten’s own Aldeburgh Festival, with the composer conducting. Unusually, its entire libretto is taken from the text of Shakespeare’s play, adapted by Britten and his artistic and personal partner, tenor Peter Pears, resulting in one of the composer’s most remarkable and original scores. For this season’s Midsummer revival, the Met has assembled a stellar young cast led by soprano Kathleen Kim as Tytania and countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon, the queen and king of the fairies, with acclaimed Britten maestro James Conlon conducting.

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