Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream by Opera North

Opera North’s current presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, part of their Festival of Britten, is so good. The piece is, of course, a marvellous and faithful musical evocation of Shakespeare’s original but is not easy to perform. Much trouble had been taken with the detailed movements on the stage because timing was near perfect, and while there was some slapstick humour it was never allowed to spoil the essentially romantic, lyrical, interpretation of the piece. Individual performances were excellent, particularly the quartet of lovers: they were ideally cast, both vocally and physically. I have never seen a more effective, and erotic, encounter between Tytania and Bottom. Most of all, it was visually stunning, with a minimum of sets, but dazzling colours to surround the gauze drops and beautiful lighting effects. I first saw the production when it was originally mounted in 2008 but it made no such impact on me then. Have changes been made or is it just that I am getting old?