Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Edinburgh International Festival

Wed 11 Aug 2021, Edinburgh Academy Junior School

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Members of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus
Aidan Oliver Chorus Director

Rowan Pierce First Fairy
Kathryn Rudge Second Fairy
Dame Harriet Walter Narrator

I really enjoyed singing Second Fairy in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture with Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by music director Thomas Søndergård,  with members of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and Dame Harriet Walters narrating.  

We initially all rehearsed together in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.  There were two performances on Wednesday 11th August at an impressive outdoor venue at Edinburgh Academy Junior School.  

Mendelssohn’s magical A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture was composed when he was just 17 and is one of classical music’s most-loved pieces. Decades later, the composer returned to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to compose incidental music for the entire play – it became one of his greatest successes. It is not often performed in its entirety and it was rare opportunity to discover Mendelssohn’s evocations of Shakespeare’s most magical play.   The first performance took place during a rainstorm which sounded brilliantly dramatic on the canvas and we had a crisp clear night for the final performance in the evening –  and seeing the outdoor lights twinkling around us as the Sun went down and the music soared added to the magic!  

The Edinburgh International Festival was the inspired idea of Rudolf Bing, then the General Manager of Glyndebourne Opera, Henry Harvey Wood, the Head of the British Council in Scotland, and leaders from the City of Edinburgh. It was established in 1947 as a world class cultural event to bring together audiences and artists from around the world, and over 70 years has gone from strength to strength.