The curtain rises on a huge convex veil that spans the stage. It rises and falls as if breathing in time to the glissandi in Benjamin Britten’s sensuous score. It hypnotises and draws you into a dream-like state as you enter the forest outside Athens – a magical realm where your subconscious desires are finally set free. Welcome to Neil Armfield’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Oberon and Rachelle Durkin as Tytania, with Warwick Fyfe as Bottom. Photograph © Tony Lewis

With the cancellation of the annual Festival d’Aix-en-Provence last year, due to global pandemic, the Adelaide Festival had to suspend its three-year collaboration and find an alternative operatic centrepiece in 2021. For fans of Britten and Armfield, their choice is a dream come true. It’s been well over 10 years since Armfield was commissioned to stage a Britten Cycle at the Houston Grand Opera. For those of us who had fallen in love with his stagings of Billy Budd, The Turn of the Screwand Peter Grimesfor Opera Australia, it was an ongoing source of...