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Shakespeare comedy brought up-to-date in Fribourg

The setting may be different in Fribourg's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" but the characters remain the same (picture: Alain Wicht)

A disused industrial building - instead of a forest - is the setting for a new production of the operatic version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Fribourg's opera company is performing the comedy, adapted by Benjamin Britten.

Based on Shakespeare's play, the opera has all the original characters - although they too have been transformed by director Vincent Vittoz. For example, the fairies do not have small gossamer Walt Disney-type wings. Instead they are marginalised people, tattooed and eccentrically clothed, based on figures from Celtic and Greek mythology.

But the biggest change is in the setting - a building on the edge of an urban area which was formerly a scrap plant for old cars.

Other innovations include the spectacle of Puck on roller skates.

Vittoz said that from the outset he was highly impressed by the compatibility of Britten's music with Shakespeare's text. And although he has adapted the opera by giving it a contemporary setting, the comedy and dreamlike quality of the original is still very much present.

The Fribourg opera company, founded 15 years ago, does not have a permanent base of its own, and performances take place in the auditorium of the city's university. After a final performance on January 29, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" can be seen in Vevey on February 4 and in Morges on February 8.

swissinfo with agencies

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