Shakespeare in Opera (2023 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Jeremy Tambling (University of Hong Kong)


A list of operas deriving from Shakespeare (1564-1616), whose writing career parallels the birth of modern opera ā€“ Monteverdi was born in 1567 ā€“ 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 of the eā€¦

Tambling, Jeremy. "Shakespeare in Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2002
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences