Shakespeare Re-Read, Re-Written, Re-Contextualised Or... Re-Placed in Opera and Musical

Open access

Abstract

Shakespeare thrives not only in the theatre, but also through what Bolter and Grusin call remediation. This article analyses how opera and musical reread Elizabethan drama shifting from spoken to sung discourse and travelling transnationally, temporally and across genres. Its main approach is comparative and relies on the history of mentalities. Rereading is dictated by cultural context, the conventions of the lyrical theatre, social and political factors and reception. Gender is reread in Bellini‘s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and in Britten‘s A Midsummer Night‟s Dream, and religion - in Gounod‘s Roméo et Juliette and Bernstein‘s West Side Story. Cultural and historical barriers enjoin recontextualisation: the English, French and Welsh verbal fun in The Merry Wives is metamorphosed into Germ-Italian in Salieri‘s Vienna, while prayer is bowdlerised in Bentoiu‘s Hamlet written in communist Romania. Porter‘s Kiss Me, Kate rewrites The Taming of the Shrew in a post-modern musical avant la lettre featuring the cast of a theatre company on- and off-stage. However, operas such as Rossini‘s Otello or Thomas‘s Hamlet are shown to have almost replaced Shakespeare‘s initial message. The article emphasises the idea that operations of rereading and rewriting, in a musical context, significantly enrich the ample panoply of Shakespearean adaptations.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bentoiu Pascal. Libretto. Hamlet (performance programme). Bucharest: Opera Română. 1975. 11-26. Print.

  • Bolter Jay David and Richard Grusin. Remediation. Understanding New Media. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press. 2000. Print.

  • Carré Michel and Jules Barbier. Libretto to Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas. Web. . 15 Oct. 2016.

  • Defranceschi Carlo Prospero. Libretto to Antonio Salieri - Falstaff. Canto e piano. Revisione Eva Riccioli. Florence: Edizioni musicali Otos. 1969. Print.

  • Greenblatt Stephen. Will in the World. How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. London: Pimlico. 2005. Print.

  • Kingsley Dorothy. Screenplay to Kiss Me Kate - 1953 MGM film (based on Samuel and Bella Spewack‘s book to the 1948 Broadway show). Web. . 20 Oct. 2016.

  • Masson Georges: Ambroise Thomas - un compositeur lyrique au XIXe siècle. Metz: Editions Serpenoise. 1996.

  • Mehlman Barbara K. ―Noises Off.‖ Rev. of Noises Off by Michael Frayn. CurtainUp. Web. . 17 Oct. 2016.

  • Oliver H. J. Introduction to The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Arden Shakespeare. London: Methuen & Co Ltd. 1971. Print.

  • Pemble John. Shakespeare in Paris: How the Bard Conquered France. London: Hambledon and London. 2005. Print.

  • Porter Cole. Lyrics to Kiss Me Kate. Web. ; ; . 20 Oct. 2016.

  • Schmidgall Gary. Shakespeare and Opera. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press 1990.

  • Shakespeare William. A Midsummer Night‟s Dream. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). Peter Holland (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Print.

  • -------- Hamlet. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). G. R. Hibbard (ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Print.

  • -------- Othello. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). Michael Neill (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Print.

  • -------- Romeo and Juliet. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). Jill L. Levenson (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Print.

  • -------- The Merry Wives of Windsor. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). T. W. Craik (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1998. Print.

  • -------- The Taming of the Shrew. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford World‘s Classics. Stanley Wells (gen. ed.). H. J. Oliver (ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Print.

  • Shaw Bernard. ―A Word More.‖ Anglo-Saxon Review. Ed. Louis Crompton. March 1901. The Great Composers - Reviews and Bombardments. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1978. Print.

  • Simeone Nigel. Leonard Berstein: West Side Story. Farnham: Ashgate. 2009. Print.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 525 421 27
PDF Downloads 370 314 12