Shakespeare in Opera

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Jeremy Tambling (University of Hong Kong)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error


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€¦

2023 words

Citation: Tambling, Jeremy. "Shakespeare in Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2002 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

1208 Shakespeare in Opera 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.