Silent Film Music and other Sounding Off

Talking about music, consciousness, silent film, Italian food, travel, good books, married life, kids, and more

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Fairy Queen at BAM

I recently wrote elsewhere about the somewhat off-putting carnal cavorting in a local production of Rent. Similar activity in Purcell's The Fairy Queen, which had a brief run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last month, had an entirely different effect on the audience: sidesplitting laughter, due to the fact that all the dancers were in fluffy bunny costumes. The four-hour evening was filled with many other innocently ridiculous moments and a host of sublime ones as well. The sumptuous production by the Glyndbourne Festival Opera, two French companies and BAM brought fine British film and stage vets together with Jonathan Kent's direction to enact the story, mostly taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream, complemented by Purcell's exuberant, brilliantly performed music from the Paris-based ensemble Les Arts Florissant under its director, the reigning king of early music, William Christie. There was magic in the air from start to finish, and he responded to the tremendous ovation by leading everyone (the full house included) in an encore of the final chorus, as a shower of little paper hearts descended from the heavens. Everyone left the theater chattering excitedly and beaming with joy. Visit for the full schedule of concerts, plays, films, cabaret, and art exhibits at this artistic cauldron in the heart of Brooklyn. Christie's fine recording of the musical portion of this semi-opera is available on the Harmonia Mundi label.

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