Oberlin Opera Invites You to Dream with Them

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Andrew Lipian, OC ’12, who plays the fairy king Oberon, putting on makeup.

Conservatory second-year Evan Tiapula getting ready in the dressing room.

Conservatory second-year Sagana Ondande getting into costume.

Evan Tiapula preparing for the production.

Singers doing hair and makeup for the production.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes the viewer on an adventure, following the lives of humans and fairies alike. With magical twist and turns instigated by the fairy king, Oberon, the opera delves deep into the emotional journey between four lovers and their confusion in the fairy woods. Premiering in 1960, the operatic performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, composed by Benjamin Britten, has remained fresh throughout the decades. This week, the production comes to Oberlin Opera Theater.

Performers of all ages have come together to create the ethereal opera, which features the Oberlin Choristers, a community children’s vocal group, and Andrew Lipian, OC ’12, in the role of Oberon.

“[This type of art] is uplifting and can transport you for a few hours,” said Conservatory sophomore and voice major Julia Alexander, who plays Hermia, one of the four leads.

“This is one of the most beautiful shows we have put on during my time at Oberlin, and not just because I am in it!” said Maggie Kinabrew, a double-degree fourth-year majoring in mathematics and voice. “The camaraderie I have found between the whole cast has been really amazing. Our Oberon, Andrew Lipian, is an alum, and it has been really great to work alongside him! Aside from his wonderful voice, he brings a maturity in his artistry and demeanor that has been really inspiring to watch.” 

Those who are devoted fans of the original Shakespearean work will notice when the opera diverges from the play. 

“[The operatic interpretation] is different from Shakespeare in that the play opens and closes in civilization – Athens, to be precise,” Associate Professor of Opera Theater and Director Jonathan Field said. “The opera opens and closes in the woods, so the Fairies get the last word.”

Overall, the play is a reassuring and imaginative look at coping with tribulation. 

“It tells us that we can falter and be fine, that the mysterious forces that work in the universe might be beneficial for us in some way,” Field said. 

In the Hall Auditorium, from Nov. 8-10, students can attend this fanciful production of a Shakespearean classic put on by Oberlin College’s very own Opera Theater. Alexander encourages everyone to attend the opera, especially those who have never seen an opera before.

“Right now, to be able to go and see art, and be a witness of art and be a part of art, I think that’s just so important.” Alexander said, “Come to the opera! Give it a shot.” 

The show runs tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in Hall Auditorium Tickets are $10 for the public and $8 for students, and are available through Oberlin Central Ticket Services or on the Conservatory website.

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