Shakespeare Lives in Opera
Shakespeare Lives is an unprecedented global programme celebrating William Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.The programme includes a host of events and activities, including innovative theatre and dance performances on stage, film screenings, globally sourced art exhibitions and educational resources for English.
Shakespeare’s extraordinary storytelling powers and his ability to draw vivid, complex characters influenced arts in various genres. In the 17th century, a new form of music theatre was invented in the Italian city of Florence and given the name ‘opera’; composers of opera began to engage with Shakespeare both as a dramatist and in terms of the psychological journeys made by the characters in his plays. From A Mid-summer Night’s Dream to Otello, from Hamlet to Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s works have been an inspiration to various great composers in combining words and music in a theatrical context.
Join us for a series of talks exploring Shakespeare as a living writer who still speaks for all people and nations.
Dying upon a kiss: Giuseppe Verdi's Otello
An opera talk by Peter Gordon
Jointly presented by Opera Hong Kong
Date & Time: 19.00-20.00 | Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Venue: Room 307-8, 3/F, British Council, 3 Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Speaker: Peter Gordon
FREE admission, please click here for registration
Perhaps the greatest and most enduring operatic settings of Shakespeare are by the Italian composer, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), whose ideas about drama and characterisation were heavily influenced by Shakespeare throughout his career.
In his long life, the beloved Italian composer turned to William Shakespeare for three of his operas: Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff. Verdi had to be coaxed out retirement to compose Otello, but the result is arguably the most masterful translation of any play to the operatic stage. The libretto is faithful in tone and often word-for-word with the original, while the music highlights the emotions, psychology and drama. Otello is as much a dramatic interpretation of Shakespeare, illuminating the original, as a new creative work, matching Shakespeare in its dramatic impact as well as their emotional and psychological depth.
In this session, Peter Gordon will look at the similarities and differences between the original and the opera of Otello, and how Shakespeare’s searing insights into human strength and frailty were converted by Verdi into music.
Click here for more information on Otello presented by Opera Hong Kong 13-16 October.
About Peter Gordon
Peter Gordon is editor of the Asian Review of Books. He began a series of opera lectures with the Dante Alighieri Society several years ago and now gives almost a dozen talks per year.He also writes on opera and the arts for several local and regional publications. In this session, Peter will look at the similarities and differences between the original and the opera of Otello, and how Shakespeare’s searing insights into human strength and frailty were converted by Verdi into music.