Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Dream. It was last on stage 2–10 June 2017 as part of the Winter 2016/17 season.
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
8 June 2017
Dancing on the very tips of your toes is traditionally something only female ballet dancers do – but sometimes men get to wear pointe shoes for a change, with unusual results…
8 June 2017
The Royal Ballet perform three ballets by Frederick Ashton: The Dream / Symphonic Variations and Zenaida Yanowsky's final performance in Marguerite and Armand.
6 June 2017
Audience reactions to The Dream / Symphonic Variations / Marguerite and Armand.
1 June 2017
Join the Company around the world as they celebrate 70 years at the Royal Opera House.
30 May 2017
Everything you need to know about this mixed programme of great works by The Royal Ballet’s Founder Choreographer, Frederick Ashton.
15 May 2017
Nicholas Hytner, Keith Warner and Joby Talbot explore the Bard's legacy within opera and ballet.
(This article is about the Ashton ballet. For George Balanchine's 1962 ballet based on the same Shakespeare play, see A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet).)( For other uses, see A Midsummer Night's Dream (disambiguation). ) 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.