Check out Britten: A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Act 2 – “Be Kind and Courteous To This Gentleman” by Elizabeth Harwood & London Symphony Orchestra. Watch movie and read libretto and translation of Be kind and courteous, an aria for from the English opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten. Watch movie and read libretto and translation of Be kind and courteous, an aria for from the English opera Midsummers Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten.

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This Mendelssohn music contains possibly one of the most recognisable tunes ever written: Puck Spoken A mischievous sprite who does the bidding of Oberon to sometimes unintended effect. He provides considerable comic relief, particularly when he gains his donkey’s head and frolics with Tytania.

A bellow-mender excited by the prospect of acting in a play. Helena Soprano A friend of Hermia who was previously engaged to Demetrius before he called it off to marry Hermia. Helena runs off thinking Lysander is making fun of her, Lysander chases after and Hermia awakens to find herself all alone. Lysander loves Hermia though she is engaged to his friend Demetrius. The Royal Opera would produce it the year after its premiere and MSND was rapidly taken up abroad not infrequently in translationbecoming a part of the international standard repertory.


The four lovers awaken, finally happily paired off. Auden, Britten had regularly returned to the subject of dreams and darkness whilst innocence was a subject that preoccupied him throughout his life.

Cobweb Treble The first of Tytania’s four fairy servants. Henry Purcell produced The Fairy Queena series of masques intertwined with a bowdlerized MSND text and Felix Mendelssohn wrote a concert overture as well as incidental music for the play.

Puck then leads the four away through the woods, applying the needed juice and antidote to them as they fall asleep. From the ethereal beauty of the fairies coutreous the rough and tumble of the Mechanicals. He does this with a lantern, and is much mocked for it by the Athenians. Takes the role of Thisbe, Pyramus’s female lover!

Courteoue Treble The second of Tytania’s four fairy servants.

Be kind and courteous | A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Benjamin Britten

Ultimately it’s an evening of pure magic. Helena is distraught and seeing Lysander moves to wake him. She still loves Demetrius despite this Oberon I am your spaniel Sung by: Nick Bottom, the weaver.

Helena When my cue comes, call me Sung by: It is Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding day.

Snug Bass A joiner who is timid and a bit thick. Starveling Baritone The tailor who plays the part of moon.

Be kind and courteous

Peaseblossom Treble The fourth of Tytania’s four fairy servants. While Oberon takes music that seems to harken to Purcell and the forest music has a twelve tone undercurrent it is the play within a play that sees Britten at his most wittily reverential. The fourth of Tytania’s four fairy servants. This isn’t to say it isn’t popular but considering its accessibility, wit and sophistication: Loves Lysander but is betrothed to Britetn.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Britten captures these disparate narratives with contrasting sound worlds. The mechanicals arrive in the forest. The juice of this flower has the power to make anyone fall in love with the next person they see. All the characters bar two Egeus and Philostrate make the cut, resulting in an opera with a diverse and lively range of characters nearly 20! Demetrius arrives pursued by Helena but angrily dismisses her.

Lost and totally exhausted Hermia and Lysander fall asleep in the woods. A mischievous sprite who does the bidding of Oberon to sometimes unintended effect.

Snout Tenor A tinker who plays the hilarious role of Wall which he does badly as he’s so nervous. The other mechanicals who have been searching for Bottom come across him as he announces that their play is to be performed anr court.