Midsummer Borrowings events on campus
The College of Communication and the Arts (CoCA) celebrated its annual Arts and Humanities Festival with a series of events in collaboration with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and its production of “Midsummer Night Mysteries,” March 27-28. UT students and faculty took part in the Symphony production at the Peristyle. Leading up to the performances, CoCA presented related lectures, a concert and a film screening on campus.
Friday film screening
On Friday, March 20 in the Haigh Auditorium of the Center for Visual Arts, a screening of the 1935 Max Reinhardt film A Midsummer Night’s Dream was introduced by Dr. Matt Yockey, Assistant Professor of Film in the UT Department of Theatre & Film.
Nominated for Best Picture, this film adaptation of Reinhardt’s successful Hollywood Bowl production of the Shakespeare play includes extensive use of Felix Mendelssohn’s music as re-orchestrated by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and ballet sequences choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska. The cast includes Mickey Rooney, Olivia DeHavilland and James Cagney, among many other familiar names and faces.
Sunday Great Gallery concert by Bezonian Trio
On Sunday, March 22, the Bezonian Trio featuring Antonina Chekhovskaya, soprano, performed in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. The concert featured pieces that recall two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – Macbeth (Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major, Op.70 #1 “Ghost”) and Hamlet (Ophelia’s Song by Dimitri Shostakovich). The Bezonian Trio is comprised of Merwin Siu (violin) and Damon Coleman (cello) of the Toledo Symphony, and Dr. Michael Boyd (piano), professor of piano at The University of Toledo.
Mendelssohn’s Music, Reinhardt’s Diaphanous Damsels, Shakespeare’s Fairies
On Wednesday March 25, Matthew Wikander, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the UT Department of English, presented a lecture about fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“We are spirits of another sort,” the fairy king Oberon reminds Puck as Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dreamers awaken into morning. Puck has just been describing the dawn as a time when “damned spirits” return to their “wormy beds”—a kind of reverse zombie apocalypse. Oberon’s and Puck’s disagreements do not begin or end here, but this interchange raises the question of what kind of fairies the fairies in Shakespeare’s plays are, and, by extension, the further question of how to represent them. This talk focused on the problem of representing fairies musically, in Mendelssohn’s incidental score, cinematically, in Max Reinhardt’s film version of his famous stage production, and poetically, as the fairies appear in Shakespeare’s text.