When to see it
This work is being performed as part of a mixed programme:
The Royal Ballet brings its celebrations of 70 years at the Royal Opera House to a close with a mixed programme of works by its Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton.
Oberon, King of the Fairies, has quarrelled with his Queen, Titania. He longs to humiliate her, and orders Puck to make her fall in love with a monster. Meanwhile, he and Puck meddle with the lives of four mortal lovers who wander across their path.
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Frederick Ashton’s The Dream is based on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The ballet had its premiere in 1964 as part of a Royal Ballet programme commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. The roles of Oberon and Titania were created for Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley, marking the beginning of their enduring and celebrated dance partnership.
Ashton captures all the comic confusion of Shakespeare’s play in inventive choreography. The high-spirited misadventures of the two pairs of mortal lovers combine with the humorous cavorting of Bottom, played by a male dancer who dances en pointe after his ludicrous transformation. The ballet culminates in a powerful pas de deux for Oberon and Titania, which moves through a stormy conflict of wills to a harmonious union. Felix Mendelssohn’s witty, gossamer-light incidental music for the play provides a perfect partner to Ashton’s choreography.
Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.
News and features
15 May 2017
Nicholas Hytner, Keith Warner and Joby Talbot explore the Bard's legacy within opera and ballet.
10 May 2017
A cast change has been announced for upcoming performances of a mixed programme of works by Frederick Ashton.
2 May 2017
Join the Company as they prepare to perform three of Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton's best-loved works.
Cast confirmation: Alessandra Ferri, Roberto Bolle and Sergei Polunin return to dance in Marguerite and Armand in June 201711 April 2017
Former dancers and guest artists of The Royal Ballet return to Covent Garden as part of a mixed programme of works by Frederick Ashton.
17 July 2015
Marcelino Sambé and Luca Acri rehearsed the role of Puck earlier this summer with Guest Principal Ballet Master Christopher Carr.
19 May 2015
The three-week tour will see the Company perform in Washington D.C., Chicago and New York.
The Dream is a one-act ballet adapted from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with choreography by Frederick Ashton to music by Mendelssohn arranged by John Lanchbery. It was premiered by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 2 April 1964 in a triple bill with Kenneth MacMillan's Images of Love and Robert Helpmann's Hamlet.