Henry Purcell's The fairy queen
Norman, Katie Leigh
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Henry Purcell's opera The Fairy Queen, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, was first performed in 1692, at a pivotal moment in the history of English opera. England was new to opera at that time, and was operating in the shadow of the more established operatic traditions of Italy and France. This adaptation, particularly in its characterization of Robin Goodfellow, serves as a response to negative criticism, as well as to the critical anxiety felt by Purcell and the other creators of English opera. Instead of merely imitating Italian and French conventions, Purcell's opera intentionally follows another path and forges a new, English opera by emphasizing English talents in the areas of acting and stagecraft.