Music: By Felix Mendelssohn (Overture and incidental music to Ein Sommernachtstraum, Opp. 21 and 61, 1826, 1842; Overture to Athalie, Op. 74, 1845; Concert overture Die schöne Melusine, Op. 32, 1833; Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60; Symphony No. 9 for strings [first three of four movements], 1823; Overture to Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde, Op. 89, 1829).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Scenery and lighting by David Hays, assisted by Peter Harvey. Costumes by Karinska.
Premiere: January 17, 1962, New York City Ballet with children from the School of American Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York.
Conductor: Robert Irving.
Singers: Veronica Tyler (soprano), Marija Kova (mezzo-soprano), 4 women.
Cast: ACT I: Butterflies, Suki Schorer, 4 women, 8 children; Puck, Arthur Mitchell; Helena, in love with Demetrius, Jillana; Oberon, King of the Fairies, Edward Villella; Oberon's Pages; Titania, Queen of the Fairies, Melissa Hayden; Titania's Cavalier, Conrad Ludlow; Titania's Page; Bottom, a Weaver, Roland Vazquez; Bottom's Companions, 4 men; Theseus, Duke of Athens, Francisco Moncion; Courtiers to Theseus; Hermia, in love with Lysander, Patricia McBride; Lysander, beloved of Hermia, Nicholas Magallanes; Demetrius, Suitor to Hermia, Bill Carter; Titania's Retinue, 12 women; Oberon's Kingdom: Butterflies and Fairies, 13 children; Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, Gloria Govrin; Hippolyta's Hounds, 6 women; ACT II: Courtiers, 18 women, 8 men; DIVERTISSEMENT: Violette Verdy, Ludlow, 6 couples.
Note: Balanchine's first wholly original full-length ballet. Act I relates the story of Shakespeare's play. Act II is a wedding celebration, concluding with a brief return to the enchanted forest, Shakespeare's ending.
Revisions: New York City Ballet: Act II, third movement of Symphony No. 9 deleted almost immediately; 1964, Act II, new choreography for courtiers, DIVERTISSEMENT shortened (to first two movements of Symphony No. 9, omitting second movement fugue); 1978, Act I, new choreography for Hippolyta's Hounds.
New Productions by Balanchine Companies: New York City Ballet: 1964, scenery and costumes redesigned by David Hays and Karinska for the New York State Theater, with color scheme in Act II changed from white and gold to red; 1980, scenery adapted by David Hays to facilitate use in repertory, lighting by Ronald Bates.
Film: 1965, Association Films, Watching Ballet (Act II DIVERTISSEMENT pas de deux ); 1967, Oberon Productions ; 1996, Seahorse Films, Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse (brief excerpts of Titania's two pas de deux).
Video/DVD: 2001, Winstar TV & Video, Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse (brief excerpts of Titania's two pas de deux); 2001, BBC/Opus Arte (Complete ); 2004, Kultur, Balanchine (pas de deux for Titania and Bottom).