Many would regard Verdi’s late masterpiece, Otello, as the most successful operatic adaptation of Shakespeare. Some have also even opined that it is better than the play. There is no doubting that it is a remarkable work and a towering landmark in nineteenth-century opera. It was a remarkable alignment of fate for this reviewer to able to see the Verdi work a day before a third viewing of perhaps the most successful Shakespeare adaptation of the twenty-first century, Brett Dean’s Hamlet.... (read more)
Back in 1991, Bell Shakespeare opened their very first season with Hamlet, starring John Polson and directed by John Bell himself; it deliberately highlighted the Australian vernacular, almost over-emphasising the flat vowel sounds and local cadences over the fruitier delivery we inherited from the British. It had a gritty contemporary setting, and garishly over-the-top costumes. It also wasn’t very good.... (read more)
Performing Hamlet: Actors in the modern age by Jonathan Croall
It is the fate of nearly all new operas to disappear quickly after an initial run of performances, so it was with much anticipation that Australian audiences had the opportunity to see Brett Dean’s Hamlet, triumphantly premièred at Glyndebourne in June 2017 ...... (read more)
Three ‘new’ operatic versions of Hamlet in two years: the time is certainly not ‘out of joint’ for Shakespeare. Italian composer and conductor Franco Faccio’s Amleto was successfully premièred in Genoa in 1865, but then had a disastrous performance at La Scala in Milan in 1871 ...... (read more)
Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become an acknowledged part of everyday life in England. In the theatre, these ...
Over the past ten years, Melbourne and Sydney have experienced a revolution in the aesthetics of theatre – perhaps only the second major one since 1945. After World War II, the British helped to get us back on our cultural feet, the high point being the establishment of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in 1954. Along came a bunch of Poms or Pommie-mi ...