Midsummers Night Dream Ballet
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a two-act ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music for Shakespeare’s play of the same name. In addition to the incidental music, Balanchine incorporated other Mendelssohn works into the ballet including Overtures to Athalie, Son and Stranger, and The Fair Melusine, Symphony No. 9 for Strings and The First Walpurgis Night. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Balanchine’s first completely original full-length ballet, and premiered at New York City Ballet on January 17, 1962 with Edward Villella in the role of Oberon, Melissa Hayden in the role of Titiana, and Arthur Mitchell in the role of Puck. The ballet employs a large children’s corps de ballet. Act I tells Shakespeare’s familiar story of lovers and fairies while Act II presents a strictly classical dance wedding celebration. The ballet dispenses with Shakespeare’s play-within-a-play finale. A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened The New York City Ballet’s first season at the New York State Theater in April, 1964.