(Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James as Romeo and Juliet and Derek Jacobi as Mercutio)
Shakespeare is my fauvorite poet and, besides, I am an opera buff. That’s to say that Shakespeare in Opera seems to me an interesting topic.
I’ve always wondered why there was no mention how, in particular, Verdi wrestled quite successfully in "translating" Shakespeare to opera. Most modern film attempts have met with less than stellar popular success. I also found his ideas rather intriguing as they do often "translate" in another area that fascinates me: namely, music. My wife "hates" going to concert events or listening to recordings that deviate even in the slightest to studio recordings that she is mostly familiar with but I actually like improvisation so long as it doesn't get too carried away from the main theme. Attempts to "update" Shakespeare can be seen as a -- forgive me--bastardization -- of his original concept but if that is what it takes to reach a mass audience--who am I to complain. Well, of course I can "complain" if the production loses what I in my purely narcissistic sense think what the play's about and find the "interpretation" to have missed the boat... but thus far that has been rare. I remember the last production of Othello I saw starring Ruy de Carvalho in 1998 at Teatro D. Maria II. As we were leaving the theater I overheard a woman uttering in disgust to her companion," the producer of that mess should be shot" (said in Portuguese)...believe or not I resisted my inherent urge to "strangle her" ...then again, I guess it is what makes interpretation so much fun...as long as the general ideas don't get lost in the mix...
Others famous composers considered to write operas based on King Lear. Britten was one of them but abandoned the project. Re Lear (King Lear) is an operatic libretto written by Antonio Somma for Giuseppe Verdi. Although the Italian composer considered the project of Re Lear for many years, no music for the opera was ever composed. Instead, German composer Aribert Reimann wrote the opera Lear premiered at the National Theatre Munich on July 1978. And the English composer Alexander Goehr wrote “Promised End” based on Shakespeare’s King Lear and first performed by English Touring Opera in 2010.
What’s your favourite representation of a Shakespearean play?