A Midsummer Night's Dream

With a dozen or so operas already on his résumé, Benjamin Britten was savvy enough to know you can’t improve, language-wise, on Shakespeare. So in crafting his 1960 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he just took the original play and trimmed it, weaving his own deft and perfumed musical magic around William’s words. Director Peter Kazaras’ staging adds a third layer of play to the “rude mechanicals’” play-within-a-play; it's set in a British boarding-school classroom for no particular reason than that it results in a pretty all-white neoclassic set. (It reminds me very much of Lakeside.) The Seattle Opera Young Artists Program cast is energetic and charming--and for once I can tell Demetrius and Lysander, and Helena and Hermia, apart--but the real star here is Britten's unfailingly imaginative score. (Tickets & info: www.seattleopera.org.) GAVIN BORCHERT (Tickets & info: www.seattleopera.org.) GAVIN BORCHERT

Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 29, 2 p.m.; Sun., April 5, 2 p.m. Starts: March 27. Continues through April 4, 2009

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