A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Opera Australia, 2010
Photo by Jeff Busby for Opera Australia.
Benjamin Britten’s gorgeous orchestrations, shuffled-around scenes, and sung Shakespeare might sound a bit of an unlikely combination, but when set upon Catherine Martin’s sumptuous turn-of-the-century Indian Raj set, it seems as though it was always meant to be. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, there were brilliant colours – reds, pinks, yellows, blues, oranges, lush greens – enough richly coloured silks, embroidered fabrics, sun-blasted linen and British pomp to set the scene perfectly, and more than enough magic to swoon over. Without his dazzling cinematic tricks, Luhrmann’s direction (here rehearsed by Julie Edmunson and choreographer Belynda Buck) is clear, theatrical, and perfectly attuned to both his aesthetic vision and the demands of the piece, and I am certain this is one of the best ‘Dreams’ I have ever seen.