Great Opera Scenes Based on Shakespeare

Great Opera Scenes Based on Shakespeare by Musica Viva

Wednesday 14 September 2016 - 19.00 to Thursday 15 September 2016 - 00.00

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.

Shakespeare Goes to Opera: 
A Discussion led by Peter Gordon and Kingman Lo

Jointly presented by Musica Viva

Date & Time:  19.00-20.15 | Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Venue: Room 307-8, 3/F, British Council, 3 Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong
- Peter Gordon, Editor, Asian Review of Books
- Kingman Lo, Director General, Musica Viva
Language: English
FREE admission, please click here for registration

No playwright has served as repeatedly as operatic inspiration as William Shakespeare. This session will look at four of the Bard’s greatest nineteenth-century operatic hits, two each from France and Italy: Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, and Giuseppe’s Verdi’s Macbeth and Otello — all in preparation for a mid-September production by Musica Viva of the best-known scenes from these operas.

None are merely plays set to music. Plays of this complexity cannot be translated directly to opera: they have been streamlined with characters cut and action re-arranged. We’ll look at the differences and similarities — from plot to actual words — between the original plays and the operas and discuss how the music enhances and changes the experience. The session will include operatic versions of “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, “To be or not to be”, “Out damn spot and Otello’s monologue — which became a love duet.

 Visit HERE for more information on Great Opera Scenes Based on Shakespeare presented by Muscia Viva in Hong Kong on 16-17 September.

About the speakers

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. 

Kingman Lo  
Returning from Italy where he worked at the Opera of Rome and the Morlacchi Theatre of Perugia in the 1960s, Lo Kingman has since written, directed and designed over 200 stage productions ranging from opera, drama, dance to musical theatre with performances in Asia, Europe and the United States. Over the years, he has made significant contributions not only in the performing arts but also in the fields of higher education and public service. He was Director of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts from 1993 to 2004. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours from international academic and arts institutions as well as from governments of Hong Kong, Britain, Italy and France. In 2008, he participated in the creation of Musica Viva, an organization dedicated to nurturing young artists and extending their performing opportunities in operas and concerts.