Shakespeare in Opera

(2031 words)
  • Jeremy Tambling (University of Hong Kong)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

A list of operas deriving from Shakespeare (1564-1616), whose writing career parallels the birth of modern opera – Monteverdi was born in 1567 – would exceed 270. That number does not account for Shakespeare's indirect and immeasurable influence on operatic writing through songs for his plays, or his impact on specific composers such as Verdi, who saw Shakespeare's use of tragedy and comedy together as vital to his own art, or on Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov (1870-72), which, like Shakespeare's histories, attempts to bring a whole nation onto the stage. Any listing of operas inspired by Shakespeare, as is given here, is bound to be selective.

Writing operas from Shakespeare's plays began, primarily, at the end …

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Tambling, Jeremy. "Shakespeare in Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2002
[, accessed 01 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences