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American Ballet Theatre
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Felix Mendelssohn
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"


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SYNOPSIS

In a moonlit forest, the bickering King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon (Ethan Stiefel) and Titania (Alessandra Ferri), have just quarreled over the possession of a changeling boy (Amon Ito). In a fit of vengefulness, Oberon sends his sprite, Puck (Herman Cornejo), through the night to fetch a magic flower that will make Titania fall in love with the first person she sees.

Meanwhile, a happy pair of lovers, Lysander (Carlos Molina) and Hermia (Stella Abrera), and their two unhappy friends, Helena (Marian Butler) and Demetrius (Ethan Brown), stray into the woods. Helena loves Demetrius, but he, alas, longs for Hermia. Oberon observes these mortals, and when Puck returns with the magic flower, orders him to sprinkle some of its drops into Demetrius' eyes so that he will fall in love with Helena.

Oberon himself anoints the eyes of Titania with the drops. She is awakened by a rustic called Bottom (Julio Bragado-Young), whom Puck has transformed into a donkey. It is love at first sight for the Queen, but Puck, for all his cleverness, complicates the affairs of the mortal lovers by charming the wrong man, Lysander, into love with Helena. Chaos reigns until Oberon takes pity on the confused lovers and orders Puck to create a fog, under cover of which all is put right. The mortals are properly paired, Bottom is restored to human form, and Titania is reconciled to her King. Their concluding pas de deux, a danced conversation of symmetry and tenderness, remains a pinnacle of Ashton's art. As Titania wilts in his arms, Oberon gently rocks her to sleep. Fools mortals may be, but not Ashton's transcendent regal pair.

Click on the link below to see an excerpt from the pas de deux.
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Top banner photos: Herman Cornejo as Puck; Ethan Stiefel as Oberon and Alessandra Ferri as Titania; Julio Bragado-Young as Bottom with Alessandra Ferri as Titania (all photos by Marty Sohl -- Thirteen/WNET).

Ethan Stiefel as Oberon

ABT premiered the ballet in 2002 with Ethan Stiefel as Oberon (photo by Marty Sohl -- Thirteen/WNET).

Alessandra Ferri as Titania

Alessandra Ferri dances the role of Titania (photo by Marty Sohl -- Thirteen/WNET).

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