John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is wacky, whimsical and occasionally maddening, yet his depiction of a ballet sci-fi world is so dazzling and absorbing, and his story-telling so enthralling, that it seems almost churlish to pick fault.
The daring score tacks on to Mendelssohn an ominous electronic drone by György Ligeti for the fairies, and hurdy-gurdy arrangements of popular themes, some from La Traviata, for the Craftsmen. This pastiche may sound more like a scenario for Cirque du Soleil than the serious Hamburg Ballet, but Neumeier makes us believe.
Guest artist Alina Cojocaru and Hamburg Ballet stalwart Alexandre Riabko are perfectly matched in the lead roles: all creamy elegance as the aristocratic Hippolyta and Theseus; sexy, stern and combative as Titania and Oberon, monarchs of the fairy kingdom. Konstantin Tselikov segued heroically between the courtly Philostrate and the hell-raising Puck.
– Read more in our Bachtrack review of The Hamburg Ballet in Neumeier’s Dream at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. –