You know the story of Hamlet from school – a prince begins seeing the ghost of his recently-passed father who reveals dark truths about the royal family and sets off a deadly chain of events throughout royal Denmark. But did you know there was an opera version of the great play? You can see it live this February at the Shakespear Opera Theatre beginning Valentine’s weekend.
Hamlet At Grace The Plains
You can see this soaring grand opera live at Grace The Plains this February beginning on Valentine’s Day at 7:30 p.m. The show will also run the weekend of February 21 with two evening shows on Friday and Sunday and a matinee on Saturday afternoon.
The play’s full title reads The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and follows titular character Hamlet as he copes with the recent death of his father through five acts, making Hamlet the longest Shakespear work. It was written between 1599 and 1601 by the Bard, and clocks in at 30,557 words. Much mythology surrounds Hamlet – the story of Hamlet was inspired by the legend of Amleth (Hamlet is an anagram of Amleth) whose legend is very similar to that of Hamlet. Hamlet-esque legends are common in many cultures, including Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Byzantium, and Arabia, lending credence to the idea that the “hero-as-fool” literary theme is Indo-European in origin. Additionally, the play is believed to be based on an earlier play of similar content called Ur-Hamlet, possibly written by Thomas Kyd or even William Shakespeare himself. Unfortunately, no copies of Ur-Hamlet have survived, so it is impossible to compare language and writing styles.
You might also like: Enjoy Valentine’s Day At These Local Restaurants
In 1868 French composer Ambroise Thomas premiered his version of Hamlet as an opera, with the libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier based on Alexandre Dumas’ French adaptation of the play. Hamlet had been gaining popularity in France since 1827 when it was produced at the Odéon theatre. Audiences were particularly moved by Ophelia, Hamlet’s love interest, who inspired fashion and art for decades in Paris. For the opera, Thomas had to pare down the original text and include the fifth act, as it was law that the Paris Opéra had to produce at least one 5-act opera per season.
Thomas’ grand Hamlet opera isn’t performed nearly as frequently as the original Shakespeare play, so treat yourself to this theatric delight this February!