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I finally finished the score of Iford Art's "Fairy Queen"! This has been a six month process that involved a lot more than just making an edition of Purcell. Fairy Queen is one of Purcell's dramatick operas, meaning it was meant to accompany a spoken play, in this case Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", with separate actors and singers (so a bit like musical theater, but the actors never sing and the singers never speak). That makes for a problem in presenting it today. First of all, that were LONG affairs, a full Fairy Queen clocking in at just around 4.5 hours. Secondly, audiences aren't used to this art form, and though it is less so in Fairy Queen, the musical moment usually have very little to do with the spoken drama. In the case of MSND, thats a pity since it's one of Shakespeare's great masterpieces. Sometimes the Purcell score is presented alone and a plot is invented, but it seems a shame to lose the Shakespeare in the 400th anniversary of his death. At the same time, a full production with separate actors and singers isn't right for Iford, and the challenge became to create a new piece that uses Purcell, uses Shakespeare, fits Iford, and can stand on its own in front of a modern audience. I spent many months over the Summer figuring out how to reorder Shakespeare's play, unweaving the various plots, and distributing the roles between eight singers. Then I took Purcells FQ score, but also his entire body of work, and began fitting the music in so that in the end we would have a piece of musical theater that is all new, and a celebration of both Purcell and Shakespeare. It involved cutting, rearranging music, transpositions, and also deciding how to fit the text over the instrumental music (which is just too good to lose). Finally its done (!!!!) and can be sent out to singers. I couldn't be prouder, and now its time to change the author hat for the director/designer hat, and figure out how to make the piece come alive on a midsummer night this 2016 in Iford!


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