The plot of the opera is partly inspired by Shakespeare's play Midsummer Night's Dream, while including some additional baroque imagery and comic scenes from Purcell's version.

    It is nighttime.

    In the castle garden, the elves and Titania – the queen of fairies – are preparing for an evening celebration. Suddenly appears Oberon, who was not invited to the feast, and is therefore very offended. Their former long-lasting marital dispute thus escalates and Oberon plans revenge.

    In the garden, two lovers also have a date – Hermia and Lysander. Demetrius, who loves Hermia despite her rejection, follows the couple while being himself pursued by Helena, whose love, to the contrary, is a burden to him.

    The weaver Nick Bottom with several companions tries after dark to catch up with their daily duty, specifically the maintenance of the garden, which they neglected due to long sitting in the pub. The queen, the fairy and elves defend their space and chase the Mechanicals away to all parts; even the imp Puck conjures up donkey ears to Nick Bottom.

    The garden is indeed quiet, but vexed Titania is no longer in the mood for celebrating and prepares herself for bedtime.

    Oberon's plan is simple. Through the magic flower, he dazes the senses of the sleeping queen so that on her awakening she falls in love with the first living creature she will see. Puck arranges that it will be Nick Bottom slumbering nearby for whom Titania will fall with overwhelming passion.

    Oberon is only partly satisfied with his work; in addition, naughty Puck for his own amusement enchanted all the others and gave rise, in Shakespeare's words, to "splendid mess."

    It is time to put everything straight.

    The sun is rising.

    Juno and Phoebus – ancient gods – symbolically welcome the new day.

    Fairies and elves hold a masquerade ball in honor of Oberon's birthday.

    The queen awakens from her stupor and despairs of her cruel humiliation. Nevertheless, she is still eager to find her husband and reconcile with him.

    Nick Bottom, whose confidence is greatly enhanced by the night adventure, seeks in vain his admirer in the whirl of masks and crinolines. To the amusement of Puck and all the others, he confuses her with an elf and asks at all costs to get at least one kiss.
    Mistakes of the night are gone, loving couples reconciled, all points to a happy conclusion and the celebration of marriage.

    Čeština (Česká republika)English (United Kingdom)