Great Performances: Dance in America

'The Dream' with American Ballet Theatre (21 Apr. 2004)

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American Ballet Theatre production of "The Dream', Frederick Ashton's one-act ballet based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" featuring music by Mendelssohn. Taped July 2003 at ... See full summary »



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Title: 'The Dream' with American Ballet Theatre (21 Apr 2004)

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American Ballet Theatre production of "The Dream', Frederick Ashton's one-act ballet based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" featuring music by Mendelssohn. Taped July 2003 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Calif. Written by Anonymous

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21 April 2004 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Magical, entertaining and almost perfect
12 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

That The Dream has music by Mendelssohn(some of his best too), is based on Shakespeare's wittiest plays, was choreographed by one of the best ballet choreographers Frederick Ashton and is danced by American Ballet Theatre( as well that it is ballet) are great reasons to see The Dream in the first place. And the production doesn't disappoint at all. The camera work is not dynamic enough, rather static and frenetic instead, and I could have done without the intrusive audience noise, maybe it does add to the spontaneity but to have it in the middle of a dance is distracting. Everything else however is flawless. Ashton's choreography is every bit as witty and elegant- and perhaps even more so- as Balanchine's version(also outstanding) if not quite as musical. The costumes and sets have a real ethereal magic and the colours are beautiful, you'd be hard pressed to find a better costume for Oberon. Mendelssohn's music isn't cheapened at all, it is very crisply articulated and the orchestra give it its lushness and understated passion, making the most of the clever orchestration(like with the big interval leaps in the Overture signifying Bottom and the noise a donkey would make). The conducting is fluid and accommodating, and the dancing is for want of a better word impeccable. The lovers are appealingly portrayed and Bottom is entertained, but Alessandra Ferri's Titania, Ethan Stiefel's Oberon and especially Herman Ornejo's Puck make more of an impression. Ferri is regal, astonishingly beautiful and wonderfully graceful, Stiefel is the very meaning of commanding and handsome and Ornejo is incredibly characterful and dances with envious lightness for such athletic moves. To conclude, hugely entertaining and has a real magic to it, Shakespeare, Mendelssohn and Ashton too would be proud. If it weren't for the camera work and audience noise it would have been perfection. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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