Peggy Sue Dunigan

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By - Feb 26th, 2008 02:52 pm
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Even without Shakespeare’s lyrical poetry, the Milwaukee Ballet’s presentation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream is, quite literally, enchanting. Set to Mendelssohn’s melodious score amid a lush canopy of forest on stage, this full-length ballet conveys the light-hearted qualities of Shakespeare’s rhymes through classical dances and visual spectacle.

The host for the magical night is a delightfully mischievous Puck (Mark Pertrocci), who presides over the performance with skill and his quick, sure steps. A complement of young stars from the Milwaukee Ballet’s School Dance Program bring tiny spirits and sprites to life, floating across the stage waving fluttering silk butterflies.

Midsummer marks the Ballet’s return to the complicated techniques of the classical tradition as choreographed by Bruce Wells, who studied under the great George Balanchine. His expertise was evident in pirouettes with grande battements, elongated arabesques, and several series of grand jetes incorporated into the story’s dance.

Live music is provided by Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra members, including the vocal solos of Anne Ingram and Diane Bennett from the Milwaukee Children’s Choir. As the curtain comes down for the close of the first act, they sing a mesmerizing “So, goodnight” as the Fairy Queen Titania slumbers.

But the Milwaukee Ballet’s ethereal second act, when Titania (Tatiana Jourvel) and Oberon (Ryan Martin) reunite in an exquisite pas de deux, is the crowning touch. As this royal duo fades into the final scenes and the two mortal couples finally marry in a celebratory dance sequence, the measures of “The Wedding March” serenade this breathtaking reprise of the complete Ballet Company.

The silvery white tutu’s, veils of chiffon and satin costumes spinning through pinks, lavenders and sunlight golds is truly a dream en pointe. As fireflies fall through a dimmed backdrop on stage, Puck hushes the gorgeous evening of ballet poetry to a softly illuminated end. Shakespeare’s fairy-tale forest of love has become one of the most exceptional performances in the company’s entire repertoire. This weekend of evening enchantment holds great promise for the Ballet’s remaining season. VS

The Milwaukee Ballet has two remaining performances this season, in April at the Pabst, and at the end of May. For information and tickets: 414.902.2103 or 877.643.7677, or visit the Ballet online.

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