Countless choreographers have sought inspiration in the work of the Bard, including the great Jean-Georges Noverre, proponent of the expressive ballet d'action, and Marius Petipa, who was the first to use Mendelssohn's incidental music to accompany a staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The legendary George Balanchine, who also loved the Mendelssohn score, tried his hand at the task in 1962, creating this storied choreography for the New York City Ballet—faithful to the text while incorporating subtle hints of pantomime, the Balanchine Midsummer Night's Dream sets the comic love story in two dazzling acts.
Theseus, the duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons (danced by the mesmerizing Alice Renavand), find themselves caught in a quarrel between the king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania. When the mischievous Puck enters the fray with a love potion and a troupe of amateur actors, anything is possible… This wildly entertaining, gorgeously wrought production by the Paris Opera Ballet benefits as much from its Shakespearean source and Balanchine's choreography as from the breathtaking sets and costumes by world-famous fashion designer Christian Lacroix, all of which combine to create a dreamlike, bewitching, and delightfully immersive atmosphere.
Photo © Agathe Poupeney - OnP